A Surrey-based environmental organisation aims to kick-start regional charcoal production in the UK using British hardwoods.

A £26,175 grant from the BOC Foundation will help BioRegional Development Group fund the project development of charcoal production. Its existing charcoal company currently supplies 350 B&Q stores nationwide with local charcoal but 90% of the market is still imported from developing countries, raising the question of sustainability.

BioRegional wants to establish five regional plants which would supply national retailers with more barbecue charcoal. Each plant would consume around 10,000 tonnes of low grade wood annually through coppicing, while all five facilities combined would support a total of 12,500ha.

“Clean” technology, already in use in France and Germany, is earmarked for the project and a site for the first plant has been identified in South Wales. BioRegional is currently looking for investors to fund the £2m required to establish the plants.