If wood fuel is to be truly carbon neutral it has to come from sustainably managed woodlands. That means it should be:
• Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified
• From woods managed under the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Grant Scheme
• Felled after the issue of a Felling Certificate
Felling licences are only issued if the work is in accordance with Government policy for the sound management of a renewable resource’.
A felling licence is needed fell 3-5 large trees or more over a four month period. A licence is not needed if the wood is under a Woodland Grant Scheme, if trees are under 8cm diameter or dead, dying or dangerous.
Individual trees with a Tree Preservation Order will normally have a replanting condition attached.
Coppicing is another source of sustainable wood. It involves cutting trees – usually chestnut, hazel, willow or poplar – back to near ground level every few years. The tree grows a new ‘crop’ of sustainable wood fuel from the stumps. The wood produced is usually chipped for use in a boiler.
Tree surgery also provides a valuable source of wood fuel. It encourages new growth on established trees or allows new trees to be established where an old one is removed.