Friday, 21 June 2013

New report available: A comparison of the woodfuel markets in Northern France and South East England

The Kent Downs Woodfuel Pathfinder has released a new report that looks at the current woodfuel situation in northern France and south east England.

The report is the culmination of the Pathfinder's involvement in the ERDF funded Interreg project MULTIFOR (or Multi-Functional Forestry).  It aims to highlight the similarities and differences in the woodland and woodfuel sectors in northern France and south east England and summarises information gathered during a series of cross-border activities involving French and English project partners (namely the Kent Downs AONB Unit in Kent and La Maison Du Bois and CRPF in Nord Pas De Calais and Picardie).

The report highlights a number of interesting details about the woodfuel sectors in Nord pas de Calais and Kent and provides a number of conclusions that should be of interest to a wide range of readers.

A key finding is the fact that over 80% of the privately owned woodland in northern France is actively managed.  This compares to only around 46% in Kent.  Also, the report found that silvicultural practice is far better developed in France.

In contrast the report found that the woodfuel supply chain and biomass heating sectors are much better developed in the UK where there is a far higher uptake of modern wood heating systems.  This is caused by the UK's adoption of a tariff-based subsidy for renewable heat generation (via the Renewable Heat Incentive) in contrast to France where a low-level grants-based approach is still used.

The forestry training facility, or 'marteloscope', at
Bois de la Belle Epine (Somme)

Astrid de Sainte Maresville (Maison Du Bois)
speaking at the MULTIFOR conference

Overall the reports provides a good summary of the woodfuel situation on both sides of the English Channel.

We thank partners at La Maison Du Bois and CRPF for their help in producing this report without whom some of the more insightful findings would have been missed.

The report can be viewed and downloaded here.  Any feedback on the report would be welcomed.

Woodfuel (bois energie) project partners at the MULTIFOR conference in Rouen in April 2013

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