There has been a lot of debate and controversy recently about the rights and wrongs of biomass woodchip. In particular, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB have been campaigning against the use of forests as fuel in power stations. As a supplier of sustainable woodchip we feel we should make our position clear:
- Trees should not be used as fuel to generate electricity in large power stations, as the energy conversion process is wasteful, as is the distribution of electricity. Renewable electricity should be made from wind, waves and tides, which are plentiful in the UK.
- Large scale biomass in the UK cannot be sustainable. Already, three quarters of our biomass is being imported from places like Lithuania and South America.
- Our view is that biomass chip can only claim to be appropriate and genuinely sustainable when it comes from low-grade timber – i.e. from waste wood (e.g. post construction industry waste), from arboricultural arisings, or from low grade commercially grown softwood. Almost as important, it should be produced and used locally, in small-medium scale installations which utilise as efficiently as possible the heat energy in the wood.
- Biomass is currently carbon-lean, as opposed to carbon-neutral, due to the fossil fuels used in harvesting, processing and transporting the fuel. This makes it all the more important that it is carried out as locally and efficiently as possible.
Here is a really balanced and informative article about these issues, should you wish to know more. Reckless exploitation of forests leads to short term profits and irreversible damage – which is why organisations like the TreeStation, that can be trusted by their customers and community to stick to their ethical approach to business and environmental mission, really make a difference.