But a number of issues need addressing before SRF could be widely established, according to the study which was undertaken by the Forestry Commission and Defra.

Ten tree species were examined in the research, including native alder, ash, birch and poplar.

The report recommends further research on growth rates, yields, SRF economics and the water use of tree stands.

Dr Helen McKay, Forestry Commission environment and operations adviser, said: “Because wood is a renewable, clean, carbon-lean fuel, short-rotation forestry could have a valuable role to play in Britain’s contribution to climate change mitigation as part of a wider wood-fuel industry.”

The review of SRF is part of wider ongoing investigations into forestry’s potential role in climate change mitigation and sustainable energy production. Sawmill residues, energy crops and wood from existing forests are also being examined.