Government urged to protect UK’s wood resource

Campaigners are ramping up the pressure on government to change the subsidy regime for electricity generators to stop the UK's limited wood resources going up in smoke.

Launched yesterday (November 7) in London, the ‘Stop Burning Our Trees’ campaign aims to publicise how paying electricity generators to use up Britain’s dwindling wood resource for large scale power generation is driving up carbon emissions and distorting the wood processing market – threatening to put many producers out of business.

The overall goal of the campaign is to encourage the government to introduce measures that recognise the limited nature and competing interest for the UK’s domestic wood resource, as campaigners believe this isn’t currently recognised in policy.

It also aims to draw attention to the emission abatement potential if this wood resource was increased, as it states that wood prices have increased by 55.1% over the past five years.

The Wood Panel Industries Federation, which represents chipboard, MDF and OSB producers, is backing the campaign and director general, Alastair Kerr, said: “The domestic wood resource is of insufficient size to cope with the demands of large scale electricity, but unless government amends its policy, these energy generators will destabilise the domestic wood market and threaten any significant new investment into wood processing in the UK.”

London Buses and underground carriages will display the campaign message, while commuters at Victoria station will be challenged to play a game of giant wooden Jenga and invited to watch a tree burning under the spotlight at the station. As well, trees will be wrapped at selected sites across London to draw further attention to the issue as campaigners gather names for a petition to send to government.

Mr Kerr added: “The time for effective action is running out, so we are appealing to a wider audience and we are asking the general public to question whether its better in the first instance to burn wood inefficiently and lose all the benefits in an instant or, to make something from it and in doing so maximise the economic and carbon benefits of this unique resource.”

The campaign will also host a reception event for MP’s on November 22 and more information on the campaign can be found at

Carys Matthews

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