Sustainable log supply - support scheme

I used to run a successful programme in the north east of England (NULogs) which aimed to support small-scale log supply in rural areas of Northumberland. The benefits to having a thriving and good quality local log supply can make a significant difference to the rural sector.

Log supply is a very benign part of the rural economy. Barriers to entry are extremely low. This applies to the end user side (i.e. supply and installation of wood stoves), and to the fuel supply side (woodland management and harvesting, transport, storage, processing, sales and  delivery).

Because there are so many different parts of the fuel supply chain, it's very hard for one individual or company to vertically integrate to capture all the value. So the value tends to spread around a range of companies or contractors.

The increase in value from standing timber to final delivered product is huge - potentially a hundred-fold (depending on the price of standing timber and seasoned delivered wood) - and there are huge concomitant benefits for good woodland management, biodiversity, and skills and employment.

The support scheme I used to manage (and to be clear, I don't see a role for me doing this in Wales, although there would certainly be companies who would like to manage the activity) supported good quality log provision through a variety of avenues:

  • Study tours to Sweden to see how professionally local log supply is managed there
  • Workshops run by experts on a number of related issues, such as storage, harvesting techniques, firewood processing etc
  • Creation of an online map showing the location of 'good quality' firewood suppliers, and linking to the websites (where available)
  • We visited every pub and post office in rural Northumberland giving out business cards with a link to the map, supporting local people with more choice on their firewood provider and encouraging more firewood providers to join the scheme and take advantage of skills and training

 

Why the contribution is important

Local supply of firewood is an unsung hero of the rural economy, and it contributes to supporting good quality woodland management - which is itself important for flood management, biodiversity support and access for countryside users.

The returns on investment have the potential to be high, as long as the support scheme is carefully thought out and targeted.

by davidclubb on August 25, 2016 at 12:47PM

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Comments

  • Posted by martinbishop August 26, 2016 at 18:05

    fits in well with existing forestry policies, could benefit many sectors from the commercial contractors to community groups.

    MB
  • Posted by UKFPADJS September 22, 2016 at 14:08

     The Welsh forestry and forest products industry provides valuable economic, social and environmental benefits for Wales. Continuity of wood supply, especially from the public forest estate, (managed by Natural Resources Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government), is vitally important for the continued success of wood-using businesses (large, medium and small) across Wales and beyond. An appropriately balanced policy for the public forest estate, with an emphasis on sustainably managed productive woodlands is essential for the continued success of the sector and its ability to deliver benefits. Productive woodland creation in Wales has fallen to such low levels that the future of some businesses may be jeopardised as a consequence. Improvements in the management and productivity of the public forest estate are required and there is scope for encouraging landowners, including farmers in upland areas. to seriously consider productive woodland as part of their businesses.
  • Posted by CelynMenai February 23, 2017 at 13:56

    Diolch i chi am rannu eich syniadau a sylwadau!

    Mae eich blaenoriaethau a syniadau yn cael eu defnyddio i helpu’r Pwyllgor i ysgrifennu ei adroddiad ar sut y gallwn ddatblygu egwyddorion sy'n sail i bolisi amaethyddiaeth a datblygu gwledig newydd i Gymru. Am ragor o wybodaeth, plîs cysylltwch â fi ar celyn.cooper@cynulliad.cymru. Mi fyddai’n sicr o ddiweddaru’r tudalennau hyn a’r sgwrs fel mae hyn yn datblygu.

    Mae eich syniadau a’ch blaenoriaethau hefyd wedi bod o gymorth i’r Pwyllgor wrth iddo wahodd sefydliadau a chyrff cynrychioliadol i’r Senedd i roi tystiolaeth ar lafar ar ddyfodol amaeth yng Nghymru.

    O ddiddordeb , mae'r Pwyllgor yn rhannu eich diddordeb yn y pwnc, a wedi lansio ymchwiliad newydd i bolisi coedwigoedd a choetiroedd yng Nghymru. Pe bae diddordeb gennych i gymryd rhan, croeso i chi gysylltu neu ymweld â'r wefan yma: http://www.senedd.cynulliad.cymru/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=252

    Diolch o galon i chi gyd eto!

    ***

    Thank you for sharing your idea and comments!

    Your ideas and priorities are now being used to help the Committee write its report on how we can develop principles to underpin a new agriculture and rural development policy for Wales. For more information, please do contact me @ celyn.cooper@assembly.wales. I’ll also make sure to update the pages and this thread to keep you updated as this progresses.

    Your ideas and priorities have also been a great support for the Committee as it invited representative organisations and bodies to come to the Senedd and give oral evidence on the future of agriculture in Wales.

    Of interest, the Committee also shares your interest in this field, and has decided to launch a new inquiry into forestry and woodland policy in Wales. If you have an interest in taking part or contributing, please do get in touch with me or indeed visit the webpage at:
    http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=252

    Thank you again for all your contributions!
    Diolch!
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