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Feb. 2011 - Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
DECC has detailed the scheme but are currently waiting for Treasury to give the go-ahead before they release full details of the scheme.
These details are now expected to be published by mid-February and we will send this out as an e-update. However, due to the delays we understand that the June
2011 start date will probably slip to a July 2011 start for the scheme. The Treasury's main concern is how to keep the scheme within its allotted budget.
Feb. 2011 - Forestry Sell-off Consultation
The government has issued a consultation on the future ownership and management of the publicly-owned forest estate in England. The Government believes that there are other sectors of society which may be better placed to own or manage the public forest estate and they would like to change the ownership and management to a mixed-model approach giving civil society, businesses and individuals a larger role.
The mixed-model approach includes:
The Government has set out key principles for these new owners to follow, these are:
- inviting new or existing charitable organisations to take on ownership or management of the heritage forests in order to secure their public benefits for the long-term future;
- creating opportunities for community and civil society groups to buy or lease forests that they wish to own or manage; and
- finding commercial operators to take on long-term leases for the large-scale commercially valuable forests.
To read a full copy of the consultation and to make your comments go to:
- protect and enhance biodiversity
- contribute to a network of wildlife corridors across England;
- maintain public access for recreation and leisure;
- ensure the continuing role of the woodlands in climate change mitigation and adaptation; and
- protect nationally important landscapes.
This new model is in addition to the 40,000 hectares that are to be sold over the next four years. The selection criteria for these sales will be announced shortly and published on the Forestry Commission’s and Defra’s websites. Sales will target woods which provide limited added value in terms of public benefits.
Feb. 2011 - Phytopthora update: Phytophthora ramorum and woodchip fuel
As spring approaches keep an eye out for signs of P ramorum in any woodlands. Signs include:
For more details about P ramorum and photos
- Bleeding cankers or lesions on the stem
- Dead or partially flushed trees in groups or distributed throughout the stand
- Partially flushed trees with abnormal shoot growth from stem and branches
- Needle wilt with canopy showing an uncharacteristic greyish colour
- Branch and shoot dieback with a distinctive ginger colour
The timber from sanitation fellings can be used in biomass boilers. If you are a woodchip supplier and would like to use P ramorum infected wood contact Daniel England (01626 890666) or Mark Prior (07836 607029) for more detailed information.
Feb. 2011 - Wood for sale
Harvested willow Short Rotation Coppice from a farm in Long Ashton – 3 lots
1. Approximately 200m3 of billeted willow, harvested 2 years ago.
2. Approximately 70m3 of willow rods, harvested 1 year ago.
3. Approximately 50m3 of wet chipped willow.
For more information call Andrew Hughes 01275 394201
Feb. 2011 - IGNITE Woodfuel Quality Training Course (April)
4th April - IGNITE Woodfuel Quality Standards, Pensford, Bristol BS39 4DW
The course is intended for those within the farming and woodland sector who may wish to expand or diversify into the woodfuel market or are interested in producing woodfuel for their own consumption.
The course helps you to:
The course is £39 for those eligible for RDPE funding*. £78 for non-eligible participants. Refreshments will be provided, but please bring a packed lunch.
- Understand the range of draft CEN standards for wood fuels
- Appreciate the different properties of wood fuel that can be specified
- Know how to specify wood chip fuel
- Know how to find out if a particular type of wood is appropriate for a specific combustion system
- Recognise the importance of quality assurance and labelling
* RDPE funding is available to those working in or dependent on agriculture or forestry, or are a diversified rural business.
For further information and to make a booking please contact Victoria Hughes at The Silvanus Trust on Tel: 01752 846400 or Email:
Feb. 2011 - Upcoming Events
24th February – Climate Change Trade Fair, Exeter
The trade fair is a one-day event that will give South West farmers and land managers an opportunity to go to one place to find out about climate change, access opportunities that will help their businesses meet the challenges of climate change and improve agricultural profitability.
For further details click here.
22nd March - Microgeneration Regen SW
With the advent of the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive, the government’s new financial incentives for smaller-scale renewable energy installations, there has never been a better time to install these sustainable, clean and profitable technologies.
Regen SW is organising this major new event to bring together the construction sector, the tourism industry, farmers and landowners, local authorities and housing associations with the south west’s sustainable energy sector to understand the opportunities and develop new business.
For further details click here.
Dec. 2010 - Woodchip Contracts and Membership
Westwoods have now brokered over 2,000 tonnes of woodchip contracts for this winter and we expect to increase this by at least 50% next winter 2011/2012.
We have 14 members at present: 11 producers and 3 contractors. We are very keen to encourage new members to join the project. If you (or a colleague) are interested, then remember that membership is free and we are happy to discuss the opportunities provided by the scheme.
Nov. 2010 - Green Energy Awards
Westwoods were pleased to receive the runners-up award in the 'Best Business Innovation' category at the recent RegenSW
Green Energy Awards. Many biomass businesses won awards, including one of our
members - Forest Fuels - who received recognition as 'Renewable Energy Supplier
of the Year'.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will go ahead despite cutbacks
The government have confirmed that the RHI will go ahead in June 2011, which is two months later than planned. It will no longer be paid for by a fuel levy on non-renewables but directly from the Treasury, and the overall budget has been reduced in scope by 20%.
£860 million will be introduced from 2011-12.
It is hoped that this will drive a more-than tenfold increase of renewable heat use in the coming decade, shifting renewable heat from an industry on the fringes to one firmly in the mainstream.
Exactly what impact these changes will have on the schemes as published in the consultation document remains to be seen, and we are unlikely to know before the
government’s response to the consultation is published, but expect it to be before the end of this year.
Public forestry estate sell-off confirmed
Plans to sell off as much as 150,000 hectares of forest and woodland in England were confirmed by the government in October 2010. It will be the biggest sale of public land for nearly 60 years.
"[Our] intention is to fundamentally reform the public forestry estate, with diminishing public ownership and a greater role for private and civil society partners," said a statement on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website.
"This will be a new approach to ownership and management of woodlands and forests, with a reducing role for the state and a growing role for the private sector and civil society. We are committed to shifting the balance of power from 'big government' to 'big society' by giving individuals, businesses, civil society organisations and local authorities a much bigger role in protecting and enhancing the natural environment and a much bigger say about our priorities for it."
No details have been given on which tracts of land would be sold, but the government insisted that conservation would not be compromised and this initiative would not result in the mass-felling of woodlands.
Phytopthora update: Phytophthora ramorum and woodchip fuel
It has been confirmed that this disease is spreading eastwards. Licenses for carrying out sanitation fellings and for handling infected material are being given.
The spores are carried in the bark and needles but the timber can be seasoned in the woodland since once the tree is cut down it stops producing spores. When the round wood is removed from the woodland it must be moved under license, in a covered wagon.
It can be used for woodfuel but must be processed in a separate area of the
yard. Once uninfected and infected material has been mixed it is all considered infected.
If the woodfuel supplier is to supply small-scale operations, such as schools, the customer must be informed to ensure that chip is not used for any other purpose, especially horticultural.
If you are a woodchip supplier and would like to use P ramorum infected wood contact Daniel England (01626 890666) or Mark Prior (07836 607029) for more detailed information.
Information about Phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak Death)
Symptoms of Phytophthora ramorum
Phytophthora ramorum is a pathogen that kills trees and is a major
threat to forest and woodland
related industries. Last year there
were a number of outbreaks in south
west England and this year the first
in south Wales has been confirmed.
Rhododendron is known to be a host
to the spores, but confirmed
outbreaks in the UK have been in
Japanese larch, sweet chestnut,
beech, birch, Turkey oak, holm oak,
horse chestnut and western hemlock.
Our two native species of oak
(sessile and pedunculate) are much
more resistant to the disease; the
name ‘sudden oak death’ comes from
North America where millions of
native American oaks and tanoaks in
California were devastated.
list of hosts and findings in Europe
can be found by clicking here
- withered shoot tips
- leaves or needles blackened or wilting
- branch die-back
- branches or trunk bleeding resin – bleeding cankers (see image alongside)
Further images of the symptoms
can be found by clicking here
The Forestry Commission, Forest Research, and Food and Environment Research Agency are all
working to control the spread of this disease. However, vigilance is necessary. The disease is spread
by air currents, rain or mist. It can even spread on shoes, tyres or animal feet.
The Forestry Commission has put in place measures to try and limit the transmission through removing and destroying any
rhododendron on infected sites. Other trees or plants on which P. Ramorum can produce inoculums are also being removed
and either made into wood products or used as biofuel or destroyed by burning or deep burial. The timber from such a site
has to be moved under licence and taken to an authorised processing facility with appropriate biosecurity precautions to
prevent accidental spread.
The following are best practice guidelines produced by the Forestry Commission which should be followed by any operative when
working in a woodland with a confirmed outbreak of P. Ramorum:
Before leaving the site, footwear, tools, equipment, plant and machinery should be cleaned so they are free from any soil or plant debris. This applies to not only moving from site to site along main roads, but also within the forest boundary. As much soil and plant debris should be removed as reasonably practicable by simple brushing.
Measures will be outlined in a Statutory Notice and will include disinfecting with an appropriate fungicide. Note that normal disinfectants will not work against P. Ramorum.
All staff and any operators who come into contact with infected rhododendron should be made aware of these precautions and adhere to them.
For woodland owners/managers with an infected site the Forestry Commission has produced a set of guidelines as a PDF document that can be downloaded by clicking here
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