Heart-warming news for woodland

Long and eagerly awaited, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) finally brings renewable heat production in Britain onto more of a level playing field with renewable electricity, which has been incentivised for some time through the Renewables Obligation.

It’s a little disappointing that domestic users (i.e. single households) won’t be able to get the RHI until 2012, but there will be some grants for installing a suitable system. For non-domestic users like small businesses, communities and local authority buildings, the RHI becomes available this summer and will pay a generous 7p per kilowatt hour for small biomass installations.

Conifers crowd light out of a semi-ancient woodland site

The call for woodfuel could help PAWS restoration

This should provide a welcome boost to the woodfuel sector, and with a growing market for woodchip and logs this should help to boost both woodland management and planting of new woodland.

It is encouraging that the RHI includes recognition of the need for sustainability criteria for biomass. It’s not clear at the moment what the final compulsory criteria will be. We hope this will lend support to production of biomass that causes no negative environmental effects, and where possible has positive impacts on biodiversity. We’d like to see woodfuel leading to an increase in restoration of Planted Ancient Woodland Sites, for example, and an increase in the area of new native woodland. We support small-scale local heat initiatives that use home-grown locally produced wood. We’ll be watching with interest to see how this develops.

Sian Atkinson, Conservation Team Leader

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About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Conservation, Government Affairs, Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS), Woodland creation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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