The Welsh Assembly Sustainability Committee’s report on demand for woody biomass has been published and ConFor, which gave evidence at the Committee’s inquiry, along with the Wood Panel Industries Federation and Forestry Commission Wales, has welcomed its findings.

The Committee has recommended that the Welsh government examines problems associated with establishing and managing a woodland and assesses whether the process can be simplified.

It has also recommended that the Welsh government does its best to ensure that existing wood-using industries aren’t excluded from the market by the wood being diverted exclusively for burning.

These recommedations, said ConFor, while not binding, sent a strong message that the forestry and wood-using sector is enthusiastic about biomass when used appropropriately and that governments risk losing potential carbon savings and energy security thorugh promoting large-scale electricity biomass plants.

“Large-scale wood-fired electricity generators are inefficient,” said ConFor’s head of policy Rupert Pigot. “They are largely dependent on imported material, raising questions over security of supply. Small-scale, local use of wood for energy, especially heat, is an appropriate use ofwood that will not cause displacement of existing industries that provide a better carbon use out of the whole life of the timber.

“Solid wood is a valuable carbon store. The UK has a limted timber resource, which must be used wisely.”