The Importance of Buying British Kiln Dried Logs
You are perhaps not even aware, when buying firewood, that a huge amount now comes from Eastern Europe and the amount being imported is rising at a significant rate.
So, is this a problem or is it good news?
For some, it may be seen as good news as it is increasing the volume of kiln dried logs on the market and the consumer is having a larger number of online retailers in particular to buy from. However we believe it provides a number of issues that provides concern:
- Firstly, most online retailers don’t even say the wood is imported, so the consumer is not able to make an informed choice about the origin of the wood.
- Most kiln dried logs are imported from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and in these countries there is certainly not the same level of control on harvesting as in the UK.
- All UK wood is harvested under the control of the Forestry Commission and no trees can be felled without a felling licence, so all UK forestry is tightly controlled.
- How does the consumer know that the wood has been responsibly sourced in a sustainable way?
- There are stories of wood from Russia being sold across its borders via these countries and there is no strong reliability of the origin.
- Much of the hardwood coming from these countries is silver birch or alder. Both these species burn much quicker than native UK species such as oak, ash and beech, therefore don’t perform as well in terms of heat output.
- Imported wood from these countries travels well over 1,100 miles just to get to the UK. Is that good for the environmental footprint when we have firewood on our doorstep?
Whilst HMRC government stats are available for imports of firewood, the category includes heat logs, but it is not thought likely that this represents any significant volume. It also includes other EU countries which is where there are some anomalies. For example the figures show over 6,000 tonnes coming from Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands but nevertheless when the figures for all European countries are taken as a whole it does give an indication of trends. In 2012 the stats show that 7,000 tonnes of firewood were imported into the UK and in 2014 this figure rose to 24,000 tonnes. A pretty significant increase and is reasonably believable in the fact there are now many companies selling imported which is easily identifiable in that it is supplied in wooden crates.
What should be done?
Firstly, there needs to be control over imports and as a bare minimum ALL imported firewood should be clearly labelled with the country of origin.
There needs to be a big push on the new ‘Grown in Britain’ government approved scheme for promoting British timber.
There should be greater support for promoting HETAS/Woodsure fuels, approved under their quality schemes.
Consumers need to be given clear choice with the knowledge that they can support the management and sustainability of British forestry. Well managed British woodland is key to the future of the industry and provides the best for flora and fauna.
Support of British forestry is vital to our landscape and future sustainability of both the woodlands themselves and the industry that is supported by it.
Certainly Wood – www.certainlywood.co.uk
HETAS – HETAS is the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses. www.hetas.co.uk
Woodsure – Woodsure is the UK’s only woodfuel quality assurance scheme. Trust Woodsure certified suppliers for reliable, high-quality wood fuels – http://woodsure.co.uk
Certainly Wood – Certainly Wood is a family business and the largest specialist firewood supplier in the UK producing 20,000 tonnes per year of kiln dried logs and kindling. All firewood and kindling is hardwood and from sustainable British woodland, locally sourced from within a 100 mile radius.
This is a guest article for UK Made written by Certainly Wood.