One of the emerging markets for wood, whether from coppicing, from by-product or post consumer waste, is the biomass sector. This sector is becoming increasingly competitive as the price of other sources of energy rises and the demands of the Landfill Directive make disposal prohibitively expensive.

Co-firing (using wood as a biomass fuel together with other fuels) has been used at power stations, for some years, to reduce CO2 emissions, while the first in a series of UK biomass power stations was opened in 2007, designed to produce enough energy for 30,000 households from 300,000 tonnes of wood a year, including 80,000 tonnes of recycled wood, 80,000 tonnes of offcuts from sawmills, 80,000 tonnes of forestry products such as tree tops, and 55,000 tonnes of short rotation coppice willow.

Smaller CHP (combined heat and power) units are being powered by wood pellets, chips and even local council park prunings. And, of course, wood is a popular source of domestic heating, particularly for the new generation of efficient log-burning stoves.

Wood is created by photosynthesis and can be considered an efficient way of storing solar energy
• Recovering the energy from wood products at the end of their life - as a substitute for fossil fuels - increases the CO2 benefit of using wood.

They also produce the oxygen we breathe - almost ¾ tonne of oxygen for every cubic metre’s growth.

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