Former Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) member, Sir Christopher Chope, learnt about the important contribution that waste wood biomass makes to UK energy security and the economy during a visit to Eco Sustainable Solutions in Christchurch, Dorset, on Monday 3rd June.

Sir Christopher – the current Conservative candidate for Christchurch who was Christchurch’s MP and a member of the EAC until Parliament was dissolved on 30th May – was shown around the 32-acre Eco Park at Parley during a visit organised by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).

At Parley, Eco processes 65,000 tonnes of waste wood a year into BioFuel, some of which powers its in-house Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant which provides renewable heat and electricity for the site.

The company also processes a number of other organic waste streams at the site and operates a variety of sustainable projects, including a solar farm.

During the visit, WRA Deputy Chair Andy Hill explained the unique benefits that waste wood biomass delivers in relation to the circular economy, industrial decarbonisation and energy security – providing 3.3TWh of reliable baseload power from our own domestic resource, waste wood.

He also highlighted the contributions the wider waste wood sector makes to the economy. The panel board industry alone provides 7,000 local jobs and contributes £700m to the UK economy.

However, Andy warned that waste wood biomass plants are at risk of closure because of the impending expiration of the ROCs regime and that more certainty was needed from the next government over future support for the sector. He also highlighted ongoing challenges for the industry around getting permitting and planning in place.

Sir Christopher Chope said: “I was delighted to visit Eco Sustainable Solutions and to see how the company turns waste wood into renewable heat and electricity. The scale of the operation is impressive and is a great example of how Christchurch is leading the way in recycling and the circular economy.”

“It was also interesting to hear about the important contribution the wider waste wood biomass sector is making to energy security and the economy.”

WRA Deputy Chair, Andy Hill, added: “It was a very positive visit and Sir Christopher was receptive to our messages. Biomass powered by waste wood provides so many benefits for the UK but our sector needs to be recognised and protected. During a period of heightened energy insecurity, I really hope the next government focuses on preserving the value of baseload power from sustainable biomass.”

Justin Dampney, Managing Director of Eco Sustainable Solutions, said: “We were very pleased to host Sir Christopher Chope’s visit and also welcome Andy Hill, from WRA’s Board, to our site.

“Sir Christopher showed great interest in the waste wood recycling and reprocessing side of our business and seemed genuinely taken aback at the scale of our operations.

“The Wood Recyclers’ Association does an excellent job in highlighting the valuable role waste wood plays in the green economy.

“Visits such as this are incredibly valuable in allowing companies such as ours the chance to engage with opinion-formers about the opportunities, as well as the challenges, faced by this important sector.”


Picture shows: (l-r) Sir Christopher Chope, WRA Deputy Chair Andy Hill and Eco Sustainable Solutions Managing Director Justin Dampney (Picture credit: Eco Sustainable Solutions/Andrew Diprose)

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