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Forestry Commission bright sparks support Ignition `09

The UK's first exhibition dedicated to wood energy takes place later this month in the North East of England.

The Forestry Commission and the Biomass Energy Centre - an independent advisory service, managed by the Forestry Commission, that provides information and guidance on producing and using biomass fuels - will both be exhibiting at a free two-day event Ignition '09 at The Sage Gateshead on 11 and 12 March.

Backed by One North East and Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) Ignition '09 aims to spark interest and fuel enthusiasm in renewable heat and the wood fuel supply chain. It offers a unique opportunity for visitors to find out about the latest technology and to speak to suppliers, installers and consultants from across the UK and Europe. Angela Duignan, Head of Wood Fuel Implementation for Forestry Commission England will be among the experts participating in a Heated Debate on the topic "How big can wood fuel be?" The expo will also include practical workshops, a Wood Fuel Supplier meeting facilitated by the Forestry Commission and field trips to organisations using wood fuel, including a laboratory and a swimming pool.

The Forestry Commission in England, Scotland and Wales and its research agency Forest Research are working together to assist the development of a successful wood fuel industry that makes an important contribution to the country's future energy needs. Climate change is a reality and using wood from well-managed local woodlands as a renewable fuel can save money, boost the local economy and reduce carbon emissions.

The wide range of benefits that using wood for fuel can bring are key to the Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Strategy for England. At its heart is the ambition to use two million tonnes of timber for wood fuel each year by 2020 by bringing woods back into management.

 Angela Duignan, said, "Ignition 09 is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in the burgeoning wood fuel sector to share news and best practice. In order to achieve the ambitious target in the Woodfuel Strategy for England we need to support the growing network of suppliers, advisors and installers, who will be attending Ignition '09. This summer we plan to publish a Delivery Plan setting out the actions needed to achieve this target. This event plays a key role in overcoming barriers to create a flourishing industry and bring wood fuel one step closer to reaching its full potential."
For more information please contact Forestry Commission England Senior Press Officer Jo Fowler on 01223 346034, 07833 672903 or email jo.fowler@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to Editor

Using wood from well-managed woods provides a renewable source of fuel as well as giving woodland owners an incentive to manage their land productively.

The untapped resource locked up in English woodlands is huge - currently 60% of the annual increment remains unharvested. This is neither economically or ecologically beneficial as there is strong evidence that woodland management allows more light to reach the forest floor reversing the decline of a variety of woodland plant and animal species.

Although burning wood releases carbon dioxide, this is balanced by the carbon dioxide absorbed in the original growth of the trees and in the growth of new ones. It can be viewed as a form of stored solar energy captured by trees as they grow.

Research and development has built on the long history of using wood for fuel, with clean and efficient wood fuel boilers, that burn either wood chips or pellets, becoming more popular in the UK. These are easy to operate and efficient – and provide a market for a local, renewable resource.


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