The Importance of Quality Fuel

The Importance of Quality Fuel

Case Studies

Will Richardson of Rural Development Initiatives talks to HETAS about the importance of quality fuel and the initiatives in place for woodfuel suppliers, from Woodsure and Ready to Burn to Grown in Britain.

We are all familiar with the importance of producing and using the highest quality woodfuels – improved efficiency, reduced emissions, reduced wear and tear on appliances to name a few. Policy makers and enforcers are following the woodfuel industry with interest as more and more woodfuel burning appliances are installed and more and more woodfuel is being burned.

A number of Woodsure accredited suppliers in the north of England have been working hard to achieve top quality supply chains and I’ve set out below a couple of case studies on two different firewood suppliers using different production techniques to get consistently high quality fuel.

The Importance of Quality FuelDelamere Logs

Delamere Logs at Norley, Cheshire created in 2010, is harvesting logs from its own land, as well as from the surrounding area, and is contributing to the local environment and economy. They have not only committed to Woodsure accreditation but have also achieved the Grown in Britain Standard, with both marks allowing them to demonstrate both the quality and locality of the product.

“Grown in Britain licensing guarantees that our firewood is all-British in origin,” says Will Starkey, partner at Delamere Logs. “The brand is a sign that timber products are sourced from managed British woodlands. Imported firewood can bring the threat of unwanted pests and diseases. Supporting British-grown timber and wood products removes such concerns and helps maintain jobs in rural economies here at home. Managing woodland correctly also benefits wildlife”.

Delamere Logs is an offshoot of the Starkey’s family farming business. The farm’s woodlands have always contributed to its livelihood, but brothers Sam and Will Starkey decided to create Delamere Logs in response to the growing market for woodfuel following the introduction of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Will and Sam rely on traditional natural seasoning of their firewood product. Small diameter hardwood roundwood is bought into their yard where it is stacked on bearers in an exposed location for 6 to 9 months before being processed direct into potato crates. Here the split firewood is stored for no less than 12 months in order to achieve consistent average moisture content levels of less than 20%. The advantages of natural seasoning is a much reduced initial capital outlay but the trade off is a very long lead in time from processing the timber to selling the finished product to the customer.

The Importance of Quality FuelWoodfuel Barn

Woodfuel Barn at High Spen, Tyne and Wear, have been producing high quality firewood since 2009. Peter Stenner decided to create the business in response to the growing market for wood fuel as he realized a need for producing a sustainable local service to meet the increasing demand for great value dry logs. The business has been Woodsure accredited since 2015 and also holds Grown in Britain certification.

The business concentrates on kiln drying their product. In 2010 it was decided to install a biomass powered kiln drying logs down to very low moisture which are ideal for modern wood burning stoves. These logs not only burn extremely well but they are also a clean burn so they do not produce as much soot. The biomass used in the boiler is a by-product of the wood processing used in the production of the logs making the process efficient and sustainable. Consistent average moisture contents of less than 17% are achieved. The advantages and disadvantages of kiln drying are reversed to those of natural seasoning – high capital outlay compared to a very quick product turnaround time.

Of course, these case studies aren’t to say that a combination of both techniques can be used – initial air drying followed by finishing the product off in a kiln. Additionally, different types of kilning processes can be used including solar powered kilns such as poly tunnels. But both case studies demonstrate the commitment many businesses have made to the production of quality assured woodfuel giving consumers and policy makers confidence in our industry to deliver.

Grown in Britain’s Northern Group Scheme, of which Delamere Logs and Woodfuel Barn are members, is managed by Will Richardson of RDI Associates: “With the recent introduction of ash die back disease to the UK it’s critical that we all do what we can to reduce the potential spread of other pests and diseases from imported firewood,” he says. “Buying Grown in Britain licensed wood products, such as Delamere’s and Wood Fuel Barn’s woodfuel, householders and businesses can be assured of British traceability. This linked with Woodsure assurance gives customers complete peace of mind that their product is of the highest quality. They will also be helping to create a sustainable future for our forests and woodlands.”

Find out more

Click here to find out more about gaining accreditation with Woodsure and Ready to Burn.

Click here to find your local supplier on the HETAS Woodfuel Search.

The Grown in Britain brand identifies wood that has been grown in Britain and assured through their all new licensing scheme. Click here to find out more.

RDI is a highly experienced project management, consultancy and training service provider working at the forefront of sustainable rural development. Visit the RDI website.

Grown in Britain Week 2016

Grown in Britain WeekGrown in Britain Week

HETAS, and our sister organisation Woodsure, will be offering our support to Grown in Britain Week. The dates of this year’s 2016 Grown in Britain week will be the 10th – 16th October.

Grown in Britain Week is “A national celebration of wood and the amazing places and people that bring this fantastic material into our lives”

This year Grown in Britain has announced several new themed days to help supporters and partners make the most of the week of celebration

  • Monday – Launch event and Timber in Construction Day
  • Tuesday – Woodland Social Enterprise Day – making our local woods work
  • Wednesday – Education Day – from young people to professional development
  • Thursday – Woodfuel Day – including the National Woodfuel Conference (see below)
  • Friday – Furniture Day – celebrating beautiful products made for home-grown wood
  • Saturday – Show and Tell Day – a day for woods, forests and wood using businesses to open their doors to their supply chains, customers and communities
  • Sunday – Connection day – time to enjoy our fantastic woods and forests

There will be a range of Grown in Britain partners and supporters, hosting events all over the UK and throughout the week.

If you’re planning your own event for the Grown in Britain week please do get in touch by , we’d love to hear about it and build it into our communications plan.

Visit the Grown in Britain website for regular updates on what will be taking place!

Wood Fuel Conference Goes National

Surrey Hills Wood Fuel ConferenceKey players in the wood industry from across the UK meet at The National Wood Fuel Conference 2014
Organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises, in association with Grown in Britain and Country Land and Business Association (CLA), The Wood Fuel Conference, previously attended by delegates from the South East, will be opened up to the whole country for the first time this year.Sponsored by LC Energy and Forestry Commission England, the event will be lively, provocative and educational and is aimed at anyone involved in woodland management and the wood fuel sector. The conference will also explore opportunities for landowners and growers this year.

As part of Grown in Britain week, The National Wood Fuel Conference will take place on Friday 17th October 2014 (from 8.30am to 16.15pm) at Denbies Vineyard near Dorking in Surrey. The day will be chaired by Grown in Britain’s Chief Executive, Dougal Driver and will cover issues such as collaboration, sustainability and opportunities for growth through a number of highly relevant presentations by industry specialists. For a complete conference programme please visit or call us on 01483 899556.

The cost per delegate is £95 which includes a two-course lunch of locally sourced produce, refreshments throughout the day and car parking.

“The Wood Fuel Conference has been growing rapidly over the past five years and reflects the significant interest and its importance as a flagship nationwide event for the wood and wood fuel industries,” said Mark Lebus of LC Energy. “The principal reason for our involvement from the start has been to make best use of the opportunity to build awareness of all aspects of the wood fuel sector for both users and suppliers. The annual event has been a tremendous success in bringing together the pre-eminent businesses across the industry in a forum of discussion, debate and networking.”


About Surrey Hills Enterprises

Surrey Hills Enterprises was set up in 2012 to promote the Surrey Hills as a national asset for the benefit of local businesses in order to enhance the community and conserve the heritage of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). To learn more visit or call us on 01483 899556.