The Wood Recyclers’ Association is calling for clarification on exactly what grades of wood are acceptable for small scale RHI biomass boilers (non WID compliant), after discovering inconsistencies in guidance to boiler manufacturers and fuel suppliers.

The trade body is expressing its concerns after finding inconsistencies in wording used in guidance to boiler manufacturers and fuel suppliers. The Environment Agency states only clean grade A wood can be used in non-WID boilers, whilst local authority guidance allows a mix of grade A and in certain circumstances grade B, to be used in non-WID boilers processing less than three tonnes an hour, under something known as a “B Permit”.

Although the local authority guidance then refers to a further description of what it means by Grade B, (i.e. offcuts from board product manufacture), the WRA feels this needs to be explained more clearly.

The trade body feels the confusion has resulted in some boiler manufacturers being able to sell non-WID compliant boilers on the basis that lower grade woods can be burned in them.

Andy Hill, Chair of the WRA, said that while the trade body awaits clarification it has

decided to adopt an interim position of only recommending the use of virgin or untreated pre-consumer waste wood for small scale RHI (non-WID compliant) boilers.

He said the WRA is asking its members to adopt that position while clarification is sought.

“We know there are situations where lower grade materials have been used in small-scale non WID biomass boilers and that has prompted us to look at exactly what guidance is available for our members. Having done that, it is clear the guidance is inconsistent and ambiguous which is totally unacceptable,” said Andy.

“We will be working with the  Environment Agency, OFGEM, the Biomass Suppliers List and local authority representatives to ensure that there is consistency on this issue in the future,” he added.

The WRA has also temporarily stopped taking on any new biomass boiler manufacturers to its membership until the situation is clarified.

This latest move is part of the trade association’s drive to raise standards across the waste wood industry as it develops a Code of Practice which it will expect all members to sign up to in the future. It has already called for T6 exemptions for wood recycling to end and is now working closely with the Biomass Suppliers list, the Environment Agency, OFGEM, local authorities and others to ensure consistency on this issue.

Andy added: “We have to lead the way with this and other similar issues and our position is clear. We need clarification and consistent guidelines from the bodies who regulate this industry and we will be strict with our membership to ensure that guidance is followed by anyone within our organisation.”

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