Creating a Stronger Voice for the Wood Heat Industry

This year the Government will publish a road map for heat decarbonisation. As such, making a clear case for a successor to the Renewable Heat Incentive, once the scheme closes to new, will be vital. With the real threat that biomass for heating continues to be underestimated and overlooked, the sector must have a strong, unified voice, working to ensure that influence can be exerted within Government at the highest level.

As your trade association, we are passionate about ensuring biomass heat is understood and that any new policies protect and grow jobs, skills and supply chains within the industry.

However, we cannot ignore that the sector continues to face significant challenges. Policy uncertainty, combined with a difficult regulatory environment, has seen our industry stall and consolidate. This has weakened the sector’s voice and reduced the resources available for demonstrating the full potential of the technology.

Similarly, it is recognised that the industry has been fragmented in terms of its representation to Government. This can confuse the listener and dilute the strength of the message which is being conveyed. For us to work effectively, we must be unified to convince the Government of the case for change. As such, the WHA is changing how it operates so that its voice is more integrated with that of the REA and ensure that resources are better focused on achieving policy goals for our members.

Time for Change

With this challenge in mind, the WHA Board has agreed that we would be more effective as a Forum within the REA, rather than as a wholly-owned subsidiary. This will enable us to maximise resources and revenues for the interests of our members. As such, we are writing to tell you that we have begun the transition to becoming The Wood Heat Forum within the REA.

The objective of this decision is to increase the strength and influence of our members, fully leverage the REA brand and have greater input into the Bioenergy lobbying activities already being undertaken by the REA. This move will allow the Board and REA staff to fully focus on its advocacy and lobbying activities, directly related to securing favourable policy outcomes, rather than being diverted by the administrative burdens of maintaining a separate, standalone company owned by the REA. As such, it is anticipated that the closer alignment to the REA will result in greater membership benefits and a more unified voice.

The REA has been in existence for 19 years and has been influential in directing renewable energy policy. It has around 550 corporate members, active in all fields of renewable energy, power generation, heat production, transport fuels and biomethane.

The WHA Board have made clear to the REA that this decision is being taken with the expectation of focused efforts to advocate for biomass heat. This is not stepping back, but a renewal of efforts to ensure biomass heat is recognised within Government’s decarbonisation plans.

With this mind, the transition shall also be phased so that market participants continue to see the WHA operating within the sector as part of the REA, maintaining the logo and name for a short time. Over time the name will change from Wood Heat Association to Wood Heat Forum, however, the intention is to keep the livery and style of the logo, changing the ‘A’ to an ‘F’, in order to avoid any loss of identity or voice within the sector.

We would love to see you at Wood Heat 2020 at the end of March where the WHA Board and REA will be able to further discuss this change, as well as set out plans for how we shall be firmly advocating for biomass heat in 2020.

The WHA_Transition_Questions_and_Answers document will provide information on the likely main concerns and questions from our members. If you have any further questions you want to raise, please do not hesitate to contact Mark Sommerfeld at