Wood an environmentally friendly fuel
Wood was the traditional fuel in the UK until the industrial revolution. It has been replaced by coal, oil and gas over the last two hundred years. Our increasing awareness of the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels has led to growing interest in using wood as a sustainable, renewable, low carbon alternative.
Wood is a major source of renewable heat energy, and burned efficiently, it produces virtually no smoke. As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide, incorporating the carbon into new growth and returning oxygen to the atmosphere. When the wood is burned this carbon is oxidised and released as carbon dioxide. As a result using wood from sustainably managed trees reduces net carbon dioxide production and while small amounts are released by the activities of processing and transportation, this is preferable to using fossil fuels. This means that using wood as a method of heating can significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while also lower our carbon dioxide emissions.
Our woodland areas are limited but with effective management, a substantial quantity of wood is available from forestry which is not suitable for construction and other uses. Managing woodland improves bio-diversity and increasing the proposition of managed woodlands, supports jobs in the forestry industry.
Why is burning wood 'environmentally friendly?'
Burning wood is carbon-neutral. When trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen that is essential for our planet's survival. Whether wood is burned or left on the forest floor, it will release the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Wood is therefore an environmentally friendly fuel, being a renewable energy source.