WHA and REA response to EFRA Forestry in England inquiry

WHA and REA response to EFRA Forestry in England inquiry

We have submitted the WHA and REA response to EFRA Forestry in England inquiry. The EFRA Committee was seeking recommendations on how effectively current government policies achieve their goals and how they should be developed in future. The WHA and REA response focused on how the majority of biomass fuels used in RHI supported boilers originated from the UK and how biomass heating can support the woodland creation and forestry.

We thank all members for their comments and feedback that have helped form our response.


Wood heating adds economic value to forestry products, brings significant carbon savings (average carbon saving from UK wood fuels constitutes 91.88% compared to the EU fossil heat average), and induces increased forest cover in the UK.

Most energy used in the UK is in the form of heat. About a third of the UK’s CO2 emissions and 60% of domestic energy bills are used for heating space and water. Heat in the UK is currently supplied predominantly by fossil fuels – with less than 4.9% [2014] from renewable sources.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) aims to change that. The aim is that 12% of heat is generated renewably by 2020. It comes in two forms: domestic and non-domestic.Over the past five years, the RHI has supported the installation of wood and biomass boilers in Wales, Scotland, and England. Biomass boilers use wood fuels such as wood pellets, logs, or chips, or agricultural products such as straw, miscanthus, or residues, rather than oil or liquefied petroleum gas. They thereby deliver substantial carbon savings, when replacing fossil fuels and support the rural economy.Biomass boilers supported in the RHI are designed to provide heating using a ‘wet system’ (e.g. through radiators) and provide hot water.

In England, 9,968 boilers have been installed in non-domestic properties, such as hospitals, agricultural productions, schools, council estates, and offices with a combined capacity of 1.9GW. Similarly,… (continue reading)