In response to the growing importance of woody biomass as a renewable energy, PEFC is increasingly working to strengthen the link between sustainable biomass and forest certification.
Europe’s demand for imported wood pellets is growing, and in the next two decades this demand is expected to reach 60 million tons a year – most of which will come from the USA and Canada. There has already been significant growth in this area.
At the same time, the European Union has been developing sustainability criteria, which may have an impact on the UK, to ensure that any solid biomass used for renewable energy entering Europe is produced sustainably.
These criteria will cover imported wood pellets, setting the bar for landowners and pellet manufacturers in the areas of biomass chain of custody, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity conservation and water resources. With the growing importance of several countries, including the homegrown market, as producers and exporters of wood pellets, it is vital that pellet producers and purchasers, along with other participants in the production and export supply chains, are aware of these sustainable sourcing requirements.
On 22 August 2013, the UK government announced its decision to bring in sustainable forest management criteria for the use of biomass feedstocks that are virgin wood or made from virgin wood, from April 2014, under the Renewables Obligation (RO).
Woodfuel & the Renewables Obligation
For woodfuel, the land criteria are outlined in the UK Timber Standard for Heat and Electricity.
Compliance with the Timber Standard
Woodfuel meets the timber standard if it originates from an independently verifiable legal and sustainable source and you have appropriate documentation to prove it.
Currently, the timber standard draws upon the principles set under the Timber Procurement Policy requirements, but further explanation on the timber standard have been developed by Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET).
Also see the Woodfuel Advice Notes https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/woodfuel-guidance and details under the Sustainable Biomass Partnership at https://sbp-cert.org/