Branching out to heat boilers

Forestry Commission chiefs are predicting that more organisations and individuals in South Yorkshire will switch to wood to heat their buildings as temperatures plummet and oil and gas prices soar.

The predictions follow a survey by the Commission and forestry specialist Treeworld, which showed that there are more than 200 eco-friendly wood fuel boilers in Yorkshire and Humber and the largest is generating 1,500 kilowatts to keep a South Yorkshire greenhouse warm.

Rudie Humphrey, Woodfuel Officer with the Forestry Commission, says the Renewable Heat Incentive, soon to be launched by the Department of Energy Climate Change – will make using wood as a fuel even more financially compelling.

The scheme will provide financial support for those who install renewable heating systems.

"It's a real game changer and will signal an even greater take up for wood fuel, even above the impressive growth we have already seen in this region," said Mr Humphrey.

The Forestry Commission says well managed woods can produce timber indefinitely to feed boilers. Yorkshire has 230,000 acres of woodland.

About a quarter is managed by the Commission, which reckons half the remaining woods are under-managed or neglected and could produce 150,000 tonnes of additional timber on a sustainable basis, whilst also improving the habitat for birds, insects and small mammals.

"The aim is to get more woods producing timber, encourage the installation of more boilers and create a robust supply chain between the two. We know wood fuel is a carbon lean, eco-friendly way of generating power. But it's also an expanding business opportunity," added Mr Humphrey.

The Forestry Commission is planning a series of events in the region to encourage the development and use of wood as a fuel.

For more information, contact Rudie Humphrey, tel: 01904 382317 or e-mail: rudie.humphrey@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.

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