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More clarity needed for diseased timber as renewable fuel

Edge Renewables, a UK-based producer of woodchips for use in biomass heating systems, has called for greater clarity on restrictions in place for use of infected timber. The move comes as increasing amounts of British woodland is being felled in an attempt to counter the increasing threat posed by diseases.

Simon Lloyd-Jones, director of Edge Renewables, says: 'As a producer of renewable woodchip fuel that uses timber from sustainably managed sources, it's unclear within our sector as to the level of restrictions that are, or may be put into place to avoid the further spread of diseases by transportation and processing of the timber into woodchip.

'The growing wood fuel sector needs a lot more clarity from government and its agencies in order to ensure that it can help prevent the further spread of disease, while putting the timber to use in helping lower carbon emissions from the heating sector.'

Such threatening diseases include Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara fraxinia. The former is of particular danger to species of larch, but can also affect beech, horse and sweet chestnut, and red and sessile oak, while the latter is of greatest threat to ash trees. It is estimated Chalara fraxinia has been responsible for the loss of 60-90% of Denmark's ash trees.