11 October 2013, Landowners who can’t see the wood for the trees when it comes to hard-pressed finances are being reminded by a Hampshire-based rural land use expert that they may be growing the answer to their own problems.
George Upex, who assists in the management of several large estates in Southern England, says the price of roadside firewood is forecast to rise by around £5 a tonne to £47, an increase of 11.9 per cent, over the next two months.
“Energy costs are very much in focus with SSE’s 8.2 per cent price rise, although it’s said this could be almost 10 per cent for dual fuel users in south east England,” explains Mr Upex, from national property consultancy Carter Jonas.
“Timber is now becoming more profitable for estates - enterprises such as firewood sales or woodchip fuel production can help subsidise woodland management and forestry operations. This, together with income from renewable heat incentives (RHI) when biomass boilers are installed and operated means estates can make savings on their heating costs.
“I’m now advising clients to investigate the viability of woodchip boilers, which can provide heat or energy for large buildings or groups of cottages and to take a longer term view of wood as a viable crop.
“In these difficult economic times people have seen firewood as a cheaper alternative to heating oil and gas. There has been a huge rise in the number of people using wood burning stoves which has driven the demand for log wood. This increase in demand and price has meant that log wood theft is now a regular occurrence.
“Coal merchants don’t leave their gates open at weekends and energy companies don’t sacrifice income by leaving meters unread so it’s wise for landowners to realise the value of their woodland.
“Carter Jonas has a national team of energy experts who can advise on the best ways to exploit timber’s crop value.”
For more information contact George Upex at firstname.lastname@example.org