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Biomass key to meeting Defra’s woodlands priorities, says campaign

A statement from the government on forest policyhas been welcomed by the Back Biomass campaign.

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs’ Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement highlights the capacity of undermanaged broadleaved woodlands to sustain additional supply to the woodfuel industry without impacting other industries.

In response to the government’s statement, Renewable Energy Association chief executive Gaynor Hartnell welcomed the statement as it recognised how biomass can add to the economic value of forests and therefore encourage more woodlands to be planted.

Ms Hartnell said: “45 per cent of England’s forests are unmanaged, which means they are less effective at absorbing carbon, not so accessible, less good for biodiversity and more vulnerable to diseases.

“By sitting alongside other industries like construction and carpentry, bioenergy uses by-products that can find little other value – such as thinnings, off-cuts and residues. That provides an extra revenue stream which, coupled with robust sustainability criteria, helps landowners to invest in responsible forest management.”

The REA’s Back Biomass campaign is an industry-led and government-supported initiative launched in summer 2011 to urge the government to support biomass power and combined heat and power as a crucial part of a secure, affordable, low carbon future for the UK.

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