The National Wood Fuel Conference – Integration & collaboration are key to wood fuel growth

Delegates at this year’s National Wood Fuel Conference were urged to promote the benefits of biomass as part of the wider renewable energy sector and consider collaborative working across the supply chain from woodland owners to end markets.

Chaired by Dougal Driver, Chairman of Grown in Britain, the conference was organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises in association with the CLA and sponsored by LC Energy, Surrey County Council and the Forestry Commission.

Presentation highlights included:

  • Biomass should sell itself as part of the wider renewable heat sector.
  • District heating is now accepted as part of our energy infrastructure, in the same way as our gas and electricity networks. It also allows a range of renewable energy technologies to be used to complement one another making best use of local resources.
  • There is a range of Government support available to help woodland owners and the forestry sector grasp the business opportunities linked to the evolving wood fuel and timber markets.
  • It is time to dispel some myths: forestry in England is thriving, we have seen a doubling of softwood production in the last five years and it takes just 40 days growth to replace the annual wood fuel harvest.
  • Active woodland management has a vital role in adding value, encouraging biodiversity and meeting climate change targets.

Presentations also covered case studies, technical innovations and a briefing by Ofgem on the Biomass Suppliers List and sustainability criteria for RHI.

Summing up the conference, Mark Lebus of sponsors LC Energy said: “Today’s conference demonstrated the resources we have available, the funding and market opportunities which are open to us and the healthy status of this country’s woodlands. Our future growth and success relies on integrated lobbying to ensure that Government support and funding is secured for the next four years together with greater competitiveness and increased communication, trust and collaboration across the whole supply chain.”

All speaker presentations from the conference are available to read at:

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