Issues

The All-Party Group is concerned about the impact of unrestrained growth in large-scale biomass power generation on the wood panel industry and other existing wood-using industries across the United Kingdom.

The wood panel industry fully supports the drive towards sustainable renewable energy sources. The industry is not opposed to the sustainable use of wood for fuel, but believes that burning wood for electricity only is an inefficient use of a valuable feedstock.

This industry is under significant threat as a result of the massive increase in biomass power generation, from large-scale dedicated biomass plants, as well as biomass co-firing and coal conversions. These plants have been incentivised by the Government’s Renewables Obligation and the new Energy Act 2013 to purchase wood to burn for energy generation.  While many large-scale plants will import much of their feedstocks, they will also still source domestic wood. This is the wood that is already used by the wood panel industry and other wood processors.

Subsidising woody biomass generation is distorting the UK wood market and is putting the wood panel industry at serious risk of displacement.  The industry is not looking for special treatment but rather a level playing field, so that it can fairly access the wood it needs for its operations.  

The wood panel industry subscribes to the Waste Hierarchy, re-processing post-consumer reclaimed wood that would otherwise go to landfill. Encouraging the first use and recycling of woody biomass into products is the most environmentally friendly option. Wood has a long usable life and burning it for energy generation should be the final stage in this process.

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