The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has today called on the Government to take urgent action to safeguard the supply of waste wood for the production of biomass fuel and and panel board manufacturing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Chris Preston, Deputy Director of Resources & Waste at DEFRA, the WRA has called on the Government to re-open Household Waste & Recycling Centres (HWRCs) for waste wood as soon as is practical, and to ensure the material is given a priority status for collection and recycling.

Andy Hill, Chair of the WRA, said in the letter: “Whilst we fully understand the reasons for the closure of HWRCs, we are concerned it has resulted in unintended consequences, namely that our wood recyclers and reprocessors are unable to source the raw material they require to keep some crucial industries functioning.

“If this supply stream is stopped the UK’s energy supply could be seriously challenged and availability of materials for the construction industry will be compromised. ”

The UK generates around 4.5 million tonnes of waste wood per annum. Around 25% of that comes from HWRCs.

The two major end users for this material – Panel Board and IED Chapter IV Compliant Biomass – are industries highlighted this week by the Government as essential to the UK during the Corona outbreak – construction and utilities.

“We would urge the Government to support our sector by safeguarding waste wood supply in order that we can continue to support these key industries. Turning off the supply of waste wood now will have long-lasting damaging implications in many areas,” Andy added.

Note to news Editors:

Biomass fuel contributes significantly to the UK’s overall energy security, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.The 3.1m tonnes of waste wood biomass expected to be used this year represents around 2.9 TWh of annual domestic power production, that’s enough to supply over 700,000 UK households, equivalent to the metropolitan area of Sheffield.

The panel board sector processes circa 900 k tonnes of recycled waste wood each year and adds £850m GVA to the UK economy. A further 500 k tonnes goes to other key markets such as animal bedding (poultry and equine).

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