One of the great things about wood is that it is a natural, sustainable resource – grown, harvested and re-planted just like any crop.

And manufacturing wood products, as Norbord does, maintains a cycle of carbon sequestration – CO2, removed from the atmosphere as the trees grow, is stored in the finished products for decades as the harvested areas regrow and absorb more carbon.

Of course, the UK government is very keen to promote sustainable technologies. It should be, since the UK has set a 2050 target for reducing our carbon emissions by 80% from 1990 levels.

The government approves the use of biomass (principally wood) as a sustainable energy source, alongside wind and solar power. So much so, that it’s committing billions of pounds annually in incentives to encourage energy companies to build biomass electricity plants.

A price worth paying if climate change is to be tackled – but it’s not that simple.

Wind, wave, and other renewables are infinite, they are free and, crucial to this debate, they have no alternative use. By contrast, wood is limited, has economic value, and is used by many manufacturers, including Norbord.

So where will the wood come from to fuel this new biomass electricity generation capacity?

Certainly, if the government’s proposed biomass energy generation targets are to be met, the vast majority of wood will be imported. The UK simply does not have enough wood.

But the incentives are indiscriminate. There is nothing to stop energy companies using them to buy the same UK wood that is today used by well-established manufacturing companies such as Norbord.

Norbord is the UK’s biggest consumer of wood – we account for around 15% of all the wood processed in the UK. We are a major employer and contribute significantly to the local and national economies.

But, most significant to the climate argument, the wood we process into OSB, MDF and particleboard, stores carbon. Burning the same wood releases it. If energy companies are able to outbid us for the wood, the incentives then will pay to increase CO2 emissions.

That doesn’t sound like such great value for the public money that is funding these biomass incentives.

And it’s not just the panel industry that is affected. The whole supply chain; furniture manufacturers, builders merchants, distributors, housebuilders, and ultimately end consumers, will see costs rise.

Beyond our industry sector many NGOs – Friends of the Earth and WWF amongst them – are equally concerned about the direction of government policy.

Furthermore, even many of the UK’s largest forestry companies – which would seem at first glance to gain from the biomass incentives – are aligned with our position and calling for the government to redirect its policy.

That’s a pretty formidable alliance telling the government it’s got it wrong. And we have lobbied government long and hard on the issue.

Most recently, the government invited consultation on both the incentives and the overall direction of the Biomass Energy Strategy – to which we have responded vigorously. Consultation closed in January.

We have yet to find out if the government has been listening.