"From the initial reading of the government’s response it is clear that DECC’s hurry to get the RO out of the way has led them to make a decision which threatens the future of a major UK industry, subsidises the massively inefficient burning of otherwise useful wood and is more interested in ‘ticking the renewables obligation box’ rather than demonstrating environmental common sense," said Alastair Kerr, director-general of the WPIF.

The WPIF has been a vocal campaigner against subsidy regimes for biomass energy that, it says, have distorted wood markets.

"The key problem is the bluntness of the subsidy mechanism, designed to stimulate growth from infinitely available and free solar, wind and wave, which simply does not work for wood," said Mr Kerr. "Incredibly, the energy companies receive the same level of subsidy whatever the wood and wherever it comes from."

The WPIF’s stance is that the subsidies should be refined to reflect the efficiency of the generator and the cost of transport. It also says that subsidies should not be available for UK domestic wood "for which there is an infinitely better environmental and economic outcome".

"Unfortunately the consultation has ignored our calls for a change in the subsidy regime which we believe would have incentivised investment in renewables as well as safeguarding existing wood using industries," said Mr Kerr.
"The government has failed to understand how the waste hierarchy should operate and instead will continue to distort the wood market," he said.

"Despite DECC’s analysis that UK wood resources should be sufficient to meet both energy and wood products demand for woody biomass, the uncertainty remains for the wood panel industry," he concluded.