Friday, 21 December 2012

Latest forest Inventory reports published

The Forestry Commission have released the latest National Forest Inventory (NFI) which estimates quantities of broadleaved species in British woodlands.  Due to the outbreak of ash dieback (Chalara) this edition of the NFI has a special focus on ash.

The NFI provides a record of the size and distribution of forests and woodlands in Great Britain and information on key forest attributes. 
Total woodland cover with
proportion of ash by NFI region

This report provides estimates of the stocked area, numbers of trees and standing volume in living broadleaved trees within forests and woodlands in Great Britain as at 31 March 2011.

The report provides a particular focus on the ash species, expressing estimates of quantities of ash in the context of quantities of all broadleaved species. 

Information in this report includes estimates for England, Scotland and Wales, and individual regions within England and Scotland, each broken down by Forestry Commission and private sector ownership. 

Stocked area by principal broadleaved species
Estimates are also provided for individual age and size classes of the broadleaved and ash tree populations.

More detailed reports and analysis can be found on the Forestry Commission website here.

Key Findings

  • The estimated stocked area of broadleaves within Great Britain is 1.3 million hectares
    • 142 thousand ha is ash (or 11% of all broadleaves and 5% of all species (both conifer and broadleaves).
  • There are 1.4 billion broadleaved trees in British woodlands of over 0.5 hectares (of which ash trees are estimated to number 126 million)
  • In addition, there are an estimated 4.2 billion broadleaved seedlings and saplings in British private sector woodlands
    • of which ash constitutes an estimated 39%.
  • Total broadleaved standing volume on the private sector estate is estimated to be 227 million m3
    • the estimate for the Forestry Commission estate is 13 million m3.
  • Ash accounts for approximately 14% of total broadleaved standing volume in Great Britain.
  • Ash tends to be younger and marginally smaller than broadleaved species as a whole:
    • Trees aged between 20 and 100 years account for most broadleaved standing volume; while for ash very little is over 80 years of age.
Information on the amount and distribution of ash trees outside NFI woodland can be found on the Countryside Survey website. This report includes small copses of less than 0.5 hectares, linear features containing trees less than 5 metres in width (including hedgerows and lines of trees) and individual trees (including some veterans).

The key findings from this report are as follows:
  • Key Findings The estimated area of ash in Broadleaved woodlands <0.5ha in size is 21.69 000ha.
  • Ash is found in different landscape components, in fields and field boundaries, alongside rivers and streams and particularly in hedgerows.
  • Ash is the fourth most abundant tree species in small woodland patches (<0.5ha) in GB after Oak, Birch and Hawthorn.
  • It is more abundant in England (12.1 000ha) than Scotland or Wales but in England Sycamore and Beech are also abundant.
  • There are estimated to be 2.7 million individual ash trees (outside of woodland) in the countryside and ash is the 2nd most common species of individual tree.
  • Most ash trees tended to be in low to mid-range DbH categories i.e. >40% between 21 and 50cm DbH.
  • There were very few veteran ash trees.
  • Ash is the most common hedgerow tree species (i.e. species growing as a full standard as part of a hedgerow).
  • The estimated length of woody linear features (hedgerows and lines of trees) composed of ash is 98.9 000km across GB with most of this (86.1 000 km) found in England.
  • In analyses based on repeated vegetation plots ash trees increased in number of plots occupied on linear features, which include hedgerows, between 1978 and 2007 and in the number of area (field) plots occupied between 1990 and 2007.

Kent Tree Health Information Day

Status at 11/12/2012

Over 200 people attended the Forestry Commission's Tree Health Information Day on December 18th where a detailed briefing on Ash dieback (Chalara Fraxinea) was delivered to forestry professionals from Kent and the wider South East.

The detailed presentations from a range of tree experts included an update on the scientific understanding of Chalara, the current status of the outbreak in the UK and the control plan that was recently introduced by Defra.

The full list of presentations, which can be found on the Forestry Commission website, were as follows:

  • Simon Hodgson - Introduction
  • Dr Joan Webber - Science Update
  • Bruce Rothnie - Chalara, where we are now
  • Martin Ward - Tree Health & Plant Biosecurity
  • Andrew Smith - The Chalara control plan
  • Dr Gary Kerr - Trees in the Landscape, silvicultural guidance on adapting to chalara
  • Jim Quaife - Trees in the built environment

This event was one of two information days delivered by the Forestry Commission during December, the other being in East Anglia where the other significant outbreaks of Chalara are located.

The event provided a chance for forestry professionals to engage with tree health experts and seek guidance on managing affected woodlands.

The Kent event also included an exhibition involving a range of related organisations, including:

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

RHI update and summary of changes to RHI Register

This post provides an update on the RHI and summarises the recent changes made by Ofgem to some of the RHI application questions.

Progress update

Overall the number of biomass RHI applications has risen from 276 on September 25th to 585 on December 11th.  

Source: Ofgem public report - Dec 11, 2012
Source: Ofgem public report - Dec 11, 2012
This is a significant increase and indicates that the scheme is beginning to make progress.  

However, this scheme overall is still far behind the original forecasts and around £30-35m will be returned to the Treasury at the end of March.

Meanwhile, the consultation on the domestic version of the RHI closed on December 7th, the results from which  are due in March 2013.  More details, including the recent consultation addendum relating to a subsidy cap and its impact on heat pump tariffs, can be found here.

Application changes

With regards to the changes to the application questions Ofgem points out the following:
  • No extra information is necessary with the update to these questions.
  • The requirements are the same as before, questions have been reworded to improve the quality of RHI applications made, and ensure the application questions assist applicants understand what is required first time, both in terms of question responses and document uploads.
The following questions have been updated  - the changes are in brackets:
  • HD170, (Please select the type of premises in which heat from the installation (for which you are applying) is used. Please upload evidence of non-single domestic status at the document uploads at the end of the application (eg Non-Domestic (Business) Rates bill, multiple Council Tax bills or equivalent / similar evidence))
  • HG150, (Will the installation use any of the following fossil fuel-derived fuels: You can select more than one answer for this question)
  • HI150, (Please provide a meter reading for this meter. If this is not your first submission of this application then please do not change this meter reading unless agreed with Ofgem. This reading may need to be updated if, for example, you have made changes to metering requiring new readings, or your installation, heating system or application information has undergone significant amendments.)
  • HI151a-1/HI151B-2 etc, (Please provide the date on which this reading was taken (this should be no more than three days before the date on which the application is first submitted to Ofgem).
  • HK110, (Please enter the serial number of your installation. E.g. for boilers you will find this on the boiler name plate. Please upload a photo of your boiler name plate AND a copy of your invoice showing the date of purchase and model of your heat generating equipment (at the document uploads at the end of the application), OR a copy of your commissioning certificate showing model, capacity and commissioning date.)
  • HK120, (Please provide a comprehensive description of your installation, including the make & model of the main components. For further details of the information that should be included here, please refer to guidance and available applicant information.)
  • HL99, (Please confirm if you wish to Upload or Post the documents as supporting evidence? Please note that uploading documents is likely to mean the accreditation process is quicker.You must however always send bank and ID information under separate cover by post as instructed. Please do not change this setting to “post” if you have previously selected “upload”. Contact the enquiry line if you have any problems, and please see the IT system user guide for help on creating and uploading PDFs.)
  • HL170, (Please provide a comprehensive schematic or diagram of the heating system of which your installation forms part. This must include the following: 
    • All plants providing heat to the heating system, whether eligible or ineligible 
    • All uses supplied with heat from the heating system, both eligible and ineligible 
    • The pipework connections between all plants and heat uses, including clear indication of any pipework not located within a building 
    • The positions of relevant hot water and steam meters and their associated components.(e.g. both temperature sensors, flow meter and integrator). 
    • Please ensure that all of the items listed above are clearly labelled, that the schematic has a key, and that building boundaries are indicated.)

The application register can be found here and the application guidance here.