Woodland needs to be part of a mixed economy was the message from this year’s National Wood Fuel Conference

Woodland needs to be part of a mixed economy was a clear message from this year’s National Wood Fuel Conference which looked at the whole supply chain from grower to user.

The theme of the conference was, ‘Fuelling the Landscape’ and delegates at the event were taken through a life cycle of opportunities, from woodland reservoirs to biomass for urban district heating schemes.

The consequences of the vote for Brexit and its potential impact on the wood fuel market were an integral element of presentations by Julian Morgan-Jones of WHA, Jonathan Thompson of Charles Russell Speechlys and Natalie Hemeleers of the AEBIOM.

Amongst other highlights:

  •  James Maclean of Land & Water said that with a 30% increase in rainfall intensity projected by 2115, woodland reservoirs have a vital role in interception, attenuation, storage and long-term flood prevention.
  • Professor Richard Murphy, University of Surrey highlighted how a life cycle assessment can help refine our perceptions of ‘greenness’.
  • The Forestry Commission’s Mark Broadmeadow emphasized the role of trees and woodlands in an integrated landscape, and Ben Ditchburn highlighted just how much wood is available from existing woodlands.

The importance of quality and high standards of silviculture were highlighted in Bill Biddell’s practical case study on biomass heating for commercial and residential properties on the Hampton Estate.  Paul Woods of Engie focused on district heating schemes,including how biomass can effectively be used as the heat source in successful district heating.

Conference Chairman, Dougal Driver, Chief Executive of Grown in Britain said: “The conference goes from strength to strength with varied expert contributions from local through to international speakers. A packed audience enjoyed the range of presentations and left with a far better understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The National Wood Fuel Conference was organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises in association with the CLA, Grown in Britain and Surrey County Council; the event was sponsored by the Forestry Commission, LC Energy and Verdo.

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