Hotting up at Woodsure

Ready to Burn LogoHotting up at Woodsure

The team at Woodsure has returned from a successful APF ready for the heating season as the Ready to Burn scheme continues to go from strength to strength. Have you teamed up with your local supplier?

You will have all seen our recent coverage of the ongoing Defra consultations regarding air quality. Launched in August and running through until mid-October the latest consultation is focused on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood. At APF the Woodsure team spoke to large numbers of wodfuel suppliers on the impact of any possible changes to their business. This ranged from national suppliers and importers through to local suppliers, coppice businesses and tree surgeons. In conjunction with Confor, a positive seminar session took place on the Friday, allowing firewood suppliers to air their views. The seminar comments have helped form part of the consultation feedback from Woodsure.

This consultation gives more detail about the proposals set out in the Strategy, focusing on the domestic use of solid fuel in England considers what further steps can be taken to encourage households to make a change from dirtier to cleaner fuels, with some key areas of focus:

  • Consumers who burn traditional house coal switching to alternative fuels (e.g. low sulphur manufactured solid fuels);
  • Consumers switching from wet wood to dry wood (with a moisture content of 20% or less);
  • Introduction of sulphur limits and smoke emission limits for all manufactured solid fuels.

It is here that Defra confirms that “We are not considering banning domestic burning. The government recognises that households have installed wood-burning stoves and the government is not seeking to prevent their use or installation.”

Fuel Focus

Section 2 of the consultation is looking at wood. Specifically focusing on firewood the proposals in this more detailed consultation include:

  • Restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning so that it can only be purchased in volumes over a specified cut-off point

The consultation states:

From the responses to the Call for Evidence, there was conclusive support for restrictions on wet wood sales, either covering all wet wood or sales of volumes under 2m3. Some
respondents expressed concerns highlighting existing shortage of supply. Other concerns reflected that many fuel suppliers are quite small and therefore more vulnerable should we
opt to make this change (with little storage space to store larger quantities of wood, for example).
Net bags of logs sold by retailers such as service stations, DIY stores and garden centres generally contain wet wood and are likely to weigh between 5 – 15kg. These nets will
occupy much less than 0.5 m3 volume each (probably closer to 0.1m3). This quantity of logs is likely to be sufficient to keep a stove lit for a few hours and is a convenient size to
be picked up and carried home for immediate use. However at present there is nothing to advise the consumer that this wood is not ready to be burned, and needs seasoning
before use.
As expected, responses to the Call for Evidence suggested that only a minority of households burn wood as a primary heat source. They also indicated that wood-burning is
less common among low-income households who tended more towards burning coal. In order to implement this phase out, government intends to build upon the existing
industry led Ready to Burn certification scheme. What this means is that anyone wishing to sell wood in volumes under the specified cut-off will need to apply to the industry’s certification agency or equivalent (currently Woodsure). Enforcement will be carried out through the certification agency’s audit process complemented by Local Authority enforcement through Trading Standards.

Woodsure leading the way

As the UK’s only woodfuel accreditation scheme, Woodsure is ideally positioned and now has well over 50 accredited suppliers signed up to the Ready to Burn scheme, from national and local suppliers to seasoned and kiln dried. These suppliers are required to identify on their packaging that their product is indeed ready to burn, with each supplier being given a unique ID code. CVisit the Ready to Burn website to see if your supplier has met the standard.

Not only does the Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme focus on moisture content, it also ensure legality of the firewood that the supplier is using. The Woodsure website has a useful guidance on legality of firewood.

If you are interested in joining the Woodsure scheme, the team can be contacted on hello@woodsure.co.uk or call 01684 278180.

Consultation Closing

The consultation closing date is fast approaching, so please take a few moments to have your say. The closing date time is 11:45pm on 12 October 2018. Click here to view the details of the consultation and to have your say.

Is your fuel legal?

Is your fuel legal?

Recently the Woodsure team provided an update to its members on the legality of woodfuel. The article is really insightful and we wanted to share the update with installers, retailers and sweeps so you can check with your suppliers.

When finding a supplier of the raw material, ensure that they can provide you with proof of Legality and sustainability this can be by the following:-

  • FSC, PEFC or other recognised voluntary certification scheme
  • Management plan in place & valid felling licence
  • Risk Based Regional Assessment (RBRA)

If purchasing from a company who is a member of a voluntary certification scheme it is important to ensure that the licence is valid for the supply you receive.  This can be checked on the relevant scheme website, such as FSC. Simply enter the details and check the product type is valid for what you are being supplied. A description of corewood, rough wood is fine, but if it states card or paper alarm bells should ring as a wrong licence number may have been given.

If purchasing timber that is not covered by a certification scheme, then we recommend that you use one of the other two methods to demonstrate legality.  Felling licences are given for felling on the licensed area of land they are granted for.  There are different types of permission to fell trees: health and safety, planning permission, Statutory Plant Health Notices or thinning of woodland.  Licences can be issued for one off activities or associated with a management plan.  A licence cannot be extended beyond its expiry date and its FREE OF CHARGE to apply for one! A felling licence associated with a management plan normally lasts 5 or 10 years.

RBRA can be used when receiving volumes of timber from within a region.  It assesses the risk of the timber coming from sustainable sources.  The Biomass Suppliers List and Confor have a template that can be used for timber being sourced within the UK and guidance on RBRAs on the government website for those sourcing from outside the UK.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/woodfuel-guidance-version-2

We recommend all Woodsure accredited businesses should request that their timber supplier demonstrates proof of legality and sustainability. It is suggest you record all your suppliers on a simple spreadsheet document showing name, address, licence number, validity date and that you have some form of checking in case licences are revoked, perhaps check the licence numbers every quarter.

Importing Wood fuel

There are two things that you need to ensure when importing firewood into the UK: the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), and the Statutory Firewood Notification Scheme.

Any wood coming into the EU needs to comply with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which came into force on 3rd March 2013. The regulation affects all who first place timber on the EU market, plus those further down the supply chain.   Anyone importing wood into the UK is affected by this and must show that they have practices in place to ensure the legality of the wood being imported, even as a finished product. A due diligence system must be in place for anyone importing and to comply the minimum requirements are:

  • Full information on the supplier
  • Assessment that the timber being imported is legal and applies to regulation
  • Checked and identified any risks by obtaining any additional information to verify legality.

Templates for this can be found on the Forestry Commission England website.

For those who buy and sell wood further down the supply chain it is essential to record where you buy from and who you sell to.

Firewood notification came into force on 1st January 2017 to assist the Forestry Commission in assessing the pest-risk represented by the trade in fuel wood.  All relevant consignments, irrespective of size/weight, must be notified at least 3 working days prior to landing.  Notification of landing is a statutory requirement and failure to comply is a contravention of the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2015.  In addition, certain species will also require a Plant Passport.

For more advice on this topic get in touch with the team on 01684 278188 or email info@woodsure.co.uk

Useful Links

Here are some other useful links on this topic:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-timber-regulation-guidance-for-business-and-industry

http://www.fsc-uk.org/en-uk/about-fsc

https://www.pefc.org/

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/publicregisters

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-fellinglicences

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FellingLicenceFAQJuly2005.pdf/$FILE/FellingLicenceFAQJuly2005.pdf

National Woodfuel Conference 2015

National Woodfuel Conference 2015

Sustainability is emerging as a key theme for speakers at this year’s National Wood Fuel Conference on 15 October.

National Woodfuel Conference 2015
National Woodfuel Conference 2014

With new sustainability criteria for Renewable Heat Incentive grants coming into force on 5 October, speakers from the Forestry Commission and the Woodsure certification scheme, will be taking a topical look at the impact of these changes on the wood fuel sector. The conference programme also highlights the breadth of the biomass industry, with speakers from the UK District Energy Association on district heating systems and Entrade, manufacturers of the recently launched world’s smallest biomass power plant. Chris Miles, Senior Advisor at the Renewable Energy Association will open the conference with a presentation on building a long-term policy strategy for biomass heating. New entrants to the sector will find case studies from new installations at Highfield School and Birtley House, of particular interest.

Support for sector growth will be outlined in a presentation by Forestry Commission Director South East and London, Alison Field, with a look at opportunities for funding via Local Enterprise Partnerships and other grant options as well as commercial investment. The conference will also be highlighting opportunities the wood fuel sector offers to landowners and the private forestry sector, with speakers from the CLA, Forestry Commission and Nicholson Nurseries.

Organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises in association with Grown in Britain and the CLA, the one-day conference is sponsored by LC Energy, Surrey County Council and the Forestry Commission.

The venue is the Duchess’s Stand at Epsom Downs Racecourse, with its purpose built conference facilities and free parking for delegates. The conference will run from 8.00am – 4.30pm and

Epsom Downs Racecourse
Epsom Downs Racecourse

features round table breakout sessions as well as speaker presentations. Delegates will also be able to benefit from an on-site exhibition featuring a range of suppliers to the wood fuel industry. The cost is £115 for the day, including lunch, with an early-bird price of £95 available for bookings placed before the 23 September 2015.

Matthew Woodcock at the Forestry Commission in SEE said, “The woodfuel industry has come a long way in the last 10 years, yet the opportunities for further growth are huge. Woodfuel is an integrated industry where all elements in the ‘wood to heat’ supply chain must pull together for success. This year’s event provides an opportunity for the sector to share knowledge and explore how we can grasp the opportunities.”

For more information or to book a place at the conference or exhibition space, please call Surrey Hills Enterprises on 01483 661152 or visit www.surreyhills.org.