Biomass subsidies threaten jobs and environment13 November 2010
Last month’s day of action at Kronospan’s panels factory in Wrexham may be the first of many actions to highlight to government the severe threat biomass subsidies pose to UK manufacturing.
TIMCON is in favour of biomass fuels. However, large subsidies for this area are diverting supplies away from existing British manufacturing of products such as timber pallets and packaging.
As demand begins to outstrip supply, raw materials prices – and therefore the price of finished products – will rise dramatically. This could encourage the use of environmentally-unsound alternatives, such as plastics.
Our products are made from timber grown in managed forests. As the raw material grows, it stores CO2 from the atmosphere that won’t be released until the end of the timber’s useful life. As these subsidies make it more attractive to burn wood at the beginning, rather than the end, of this life cycle they make little sense environmentally.
TIMCON is lobbying UK politicians to make them aware of this threat and working with its counterparts in Europe.
We welcome studies on the UK biomass situation and want politicians to take account of continuity of supply to our industry and maximise environmental benefits of the cascade model, which currently means as much available timber as possible is used.
The pallet and packaging industry alone employs 8,000 people directly and a further 30,000 indirectly.
The government needs to understand the importance of UK wood-based industries – in terms of jobs and benefit to the environment. Heavy subsidies for renewable energy have huge implications for both.