Overall UK exports of waste wood biomass and panel board feedstock dropped by 50 per cent last year compared to 2016, according to the latest statistics produced by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).
The trade body carried out an annual survey of its members which also showed a large increase in the use of waste wood within the UK.
The WRA says there remains an estimated 5 million tonnes of waste wood available for recycling and recovery in the UK. Of this, 3.7 million tonnes is recycled or reprocessed, of which 3.2 million tonnes is by WRA members.
The survey showed 1.7 million tonnes went to UK biomass plants in 2017, compared to 1.6 million in 2016. A further 1.7 million tonnes was recycled or reused into products including animal bedding, UK panel board feedstock and landscaping and equestrian surfaces. This was estimated at 1.4 million tonnes in 2016.
The remaining 300,000 tonnes was exported as biomass or panel board feedstock. This compared to 600,000 tonnes in 2016.
Andy Hill, Chair of WRA said the growth was good for the economy but warned of potential impending waste wood shortages if recyclers and reprocessors face storage issues over the summer months.
“It has been a long winter over 2017-2018,” said Andy. “That has given us a slow start to the year in terms of the volumes of waste wood available. We are predicting that the market will gather pace now over the summer and recyclers will be able to build up their stock levels ready for the peak off-take next winter.
“It is crucial recyclers are able to store quantities of material over the summer months. We are urging the EA to look very carefully at each individual situation and if an operator can show they have annual off-take and the sites are genuinely covered with the necessary health and safety requirements they should be allowed to store larger quantities of materials.”
The Environment Agency has recently appointed a new member of staff to look at the granting of Fire Prevention Plans (FPPs) for waste wood and other waste and recycling operators.
Our waste to fuel division works with waste producers and demolition companies collecting grade C wood and converting it into biomass fuel for energy from waste plants. To speak to us about our wood recycling service or our range of energy from waste solutions, contact a member of our team on 0845 129 7177.