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REA: Biomass key to meeting DEFRA's woodlands priorities, says campaign



  • Government forest policy statement welcomed by Back Biomass campaign
  • Biomass ‘works alongside other industries to improve and expand English forests’

In response to the Government’s Statement on Forestry and Woodlands Policy, Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), said:

“We welcome this statement, which recognises how biomass can add to the economic value of forests and therefore encourage more woodlands to be planted.

“45% 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. We’re pleased to see the policy statement acknowledging this compatibility, especially in undermanaged broadleaf woodlands.

“We look forward to working with DEFRA, our own REA/Confor Woodfuel Suppliers Group and other industry leaders to show how biomass is key to English forestry’s future.”


For more information:

Paul Thompson

Head of Policy, REA

Tel  +44 (0)20 7925 3580

Fax +44 (0)20 7925 2715


Jessica Lennard
Back Biomass Campaign

Tel +44 (0)20 3047 2204
Mob +44 (0)778 602 5652



Editors’ Notes:

  • The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs’ Government Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement was published today, 31 January 2013, and can be found in full at

    • On p. 13 of the statement, it notes the capacity of undermanaged broadleaved woodlands to sustain additional supply to the woodfuel industry without impacting other industries. However, DECC’s Bioenergy Strategy demonstrates the additional ways in which wood fibres from a forest or tree can support a range of complementary sectors.

    • On p. 14 of the statement, it notes the REA’s partnership with Confor on the Woodfuel Suppliers Group, which works on developing the forest-based woodfuels supply chain.

    • On p. 8 of the statement, it recognises diseases and pests as a “clear threat”, having a “significant impact on the successful establishment and regeneration of new woodland, woodland management, the quality of timber and the quality of woodland habitats.”


  • The Statement incorporates DEFRA’s response to the Independent Panel on Forestry, which was published in July 2012 and can be found at

  • Confor estimates that 45% of English woodlands are unmanaged:



  • The REA’s Back Biomass campaign is an industry-led and government-supported initiative launched in summer 2011 to urge the Government to ‘Back Biomass’ power and combined heat and power as a crucial part of a secure, affordable, low carbon future for the UK. We believe that power and CHP from sustainable biomass offers proven, practical, secure low carbon energy as part of a balanced energy mix. It has been supported by: British Sugar, Drax, Eggborough, E.ON, Future Biogas, Estover Energy, Eco2, Helius Energy, USIPA, the Wood Pellet Association of Canada and RES.


  • The Renewable Energy Association (REA) represents renewable energy producers and promotes the use of all forms of renewable energy in the UK. A trusted voice for the industry, we represent the full range of the renewable energy technologies across; power, heat, transport and renewable gas. Our ever-increasing membership ranges from major multinationals through to sole traders. The Solar Trade Association is affiliated to the Renewable Energy Association, creating a combined membership of over 900 companies.