Friday, 30 March 2012

High domestic fuel prices blamed for rise in theft of harvested wood

Try getting these in the back of the family hatchback!

The theft of harvested timber from woodlands is not a new phenomenon, but these recent BBC news items from Somerset and Gloucestershire perhaps hint at a growing problem.  Reports from Greece add more evidence to the clear relationship between illegal forestry, depressed economies and high fuel prices.

Another factor may be the inexorable rise in the use of wood stoves.  The Stove Industries Alliance, the body that represents stove manufacturers and distributors in the UK, estimate that around 150,000 wood stoves have been installed each year for the last four years.  This has already led to a significant increase in demand for firewood (and the firewood industry has rightly responded with strong investment in new equipment and facilities).

But given the increase in the cost of firewood, and more significantly the huge increases in oil and gas prices, it is not surprising that some people may view their local woodlands as a prime source of free fuel.

The BBC articles suggest that the problem can extend up to 400m into a woodland.  In some cases illegal loggers are using chainsaws and large vehicles (20 tonnes in one night in one case).

We are not aware of any significant problems in Kent at the moment...but please do get in touch if you hear of anything and we will highlight any problems on this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment