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Wood pellets shortfall hits green heating systems

By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Wood pellets shortfall hits green heating systems

A GREEN heating scheme has been leaving a chill in some of the region's homes.

Wood pellet boilers were encouraged by the UK-Government through a subsidy scheme designed to promote the use of renewable fuels.

But a combination of factors has left suppliers with serious shortages this winter and some systems have had to be shut down.

Among a number of suppliers rationing pellets since late last year is the Dumfries Wood Fuel Co-operative.

Spokesman Rowland Parke said: “Like many suppliers we are currently not taking on any new customers and limiting deliveries for existing customers. We are hoping the situation eases in the coming weeks.”

A growth in demand for the waste wood used to manufacture pellets, including the addition of several large pellet-burning power stations in the UK and Europe, is a factor.

And adverse damp weather conditions in Eastern Europe have hampered the thinning of forests, reducing the raw material available.

Concerns have also been expressed that commercial users, such as farms, which receive subsidy payments based on actual heat output of installations, are using large volumes of the diminishing pellet stock.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell has taken the issue up with Ministerial colleagues.

He told DnG24: “There has been an increased level of demand across Europe for biomass heating, but we must do all we can to ensure people are able to readily heat their homes.

“In recent years, there has been a policy of showing support for biomass heating, but it must be done in a fair way for taxpayers and ensure a productive wood pellet market.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London said: “We have spoken to the relevant trade body about the supply of wood pellets and it has assured us that it is taking urgent action to help customers.

 “The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme is supporting the transition to low carbon heating and replacing fossil fuels.

“This popular low-carbon heating scheme is part of a £4.5 billion investment to support low carbon heat technologies in homes and businesses between 2016 and 2021.”


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