Monday, 31 October 2011

Woodland Contractors Workshop - Nov 17th, Lenham, Kent

Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder: Woodland Contractors Workshop
Dog & Bear (Lenham, Kent) on November 17th at 7pm – Free Buffet
After many years the markets for Kent’s woodland products are improving, woodfuel is starting to provide opportunities for lower quality material (particularly at a local level) and people are increasingly recognising the value of wood as a sustainable product. 

If, as an industry, we are to take advantage of these developments we need a robust and evolving network of woodland contractors.  Appreciating that there is a huge range of business models we would like to better understand what would help existing contractors develop their businesses to respond to the improving conditions.

The workshop will also provide an update on support available to the sector including:

·         The evolving market opportunities
·         The FC’s new Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant
·         Grant support for machinery & business development
·         Funding for apprentices

The Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder is a joint Forestry Commission and Kent County Council project (with funding from the EU ERDF Interreg IVa programme) exploring what temporary support would help the woodland industry evolve to become fully self-supporting delivering:

              Market driven sustainable management of Kent’s woodlands
              Maintenance of Kent’s landscape character & secure local jobs
              Carbon lean & sustainably sourced fuel for local heat

Over 70 contractors from Kent, Surrey and Sussex are being invited to this event.  It provides an opportunity to tell us what would help YOU, learn about new initiatives and network with other companies operating in the sector. 

Places are limited.  Please email (or call 01303 815 171) to reserve a seat.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ofgem update on RHI Phase 1: Large scale biomass tariff reduced

SusCon boiler room, Dartford, Kent
Ofgem have released further information on the status of the RHI Phase 1 launch, delayed from last month.

DECC has announced that the Renewable Heat Incentive regulations have been laid before Parliament, with the aim of opening Phase 1 of the scheme to applicants by the end of November 2011 (subject to Parliamentary approval).

"We have now updated the Renewable Heat Incentive Regulations to reflect the required change to large scale biomass tariff by the European Commission.  The large scale biomass tariff has been revised from 2.7p per kWh to 1p per kWh."

Ofgem is ready to start accepting applications as soon as regulations come into force, although the exact date of this is dependant on parliamentary timetables.

For more information visit either DECC's website on the RHI or Ofgem's website on the RHI

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant open for applications

The value of wood as a sustainable resource, either as timber or as woodfuel is growing.

The Kent Downs has a long history of traditional coppice management and is well suited to respond to such market led opportunities.

Of course, sensitive and sustainable woodland management is crucial to the character and ecology of the Kent Downs and provides jobs for local people.  However, traditional sweet chestnut products are growing in popularity and new products are being developed.

The growing market for wood as a sustainable fuel, encouraged by the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder offers market opportunities for the lowest quality wood and ‘offcuts’ produced when creating other wood products.

The greatest opportunities lie in:

  • Using your own wood to supply your own heat needs;
  • Adding value to your lower quality wood by selling woodfuel locally, or
  • By selling the end product - heat.
The volatility and the inevitability of increasing prices of fossil fuel means locally produced woodfuel offers a secure and sustainable supply where production and supply is undertaken by local people.

The Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant offers support of 60% of the costs of:

  • roads, loading areas, tracks and other infrastructure which will allow you to harvest wood products;
  • assessing the amount of timber which could be sustainably harvested; and
  • the costs of managing harvesting contracts.
Further details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.

If you are interested you will first need an approved woodland management plan, for which the Forestry Commission also offer support through the Woodland Planning Grant.

Contact your local Woodland Officer for further information.