INTEREST from communities in securing their own local supplies of firewood is growing throughout the Cairngorms National Park and beyond.
A specially-tailored event at Laggan in May 2010 attracted delegates from across the country who were keen to explore the potential for setting up wood fuel enterprises in their own communities.
Run by the Community Woodlands Association on behalf of the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Clim-ATIC, the day was an inspiring blend of discussion, presentations and practical demonstrations.
Jake Willis from the Community Woodlands Association opened with an Introduction to Community Woodfuel Enterprises, outlining some of the approaches being taken and giving examples of existing community firewood projects.
Consultant Doreen Mcintyre led a session on How to Get Into the Woodfuel Market, highlighting the importance of thorough research into both supply and demand. Some of Doreen's pioneering work in this field is freely available through Highland Birchwoods in the form of a toolkit.
Knoydart forester Grant Holroyd talked through some woodfuel enterprise scenarios and options then it was into some lively break out sessions led by the speakers.
Processing and burning technologies for logs, chips and pellets was the topic for Jake's post coffee session, which was followed up by a presentation on grants, support and advice for getting set up from Amanda Calvert of the Greenheat Initiative.
All this talk had provoked a mighty hunger and lunch from the mobile wood fired pizza oven proved a high point of the day, with many delegates returning for seconds of delicious fresh pizza.
Demonstrations of a range of equipment, including log splitters and kindler machines from Doug Beattie of Farm and Forestry Equipment in Ardersier, followed lunch. A visit to a wood processing site in Strathmashie Forest was a real highlight of the afternoon. Jake demonstrated his own Palax wood processer, supplied by Jim Watt of Caledonian Forestry Services who also attended the day. The action took place in woods managed by hosts for the event Laggan Forest Trust. The Trust manages the woodlands in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland.
Feedback from the day was universally positive, with delegates describing it as 'inspiring' and a good starting point from which to do further research into viability of local shemes in their own area. Some participants requested case studies and a copy of a design for a simple wood shed. Instructions on how to build it can be downloaded here.
Click here to download a comprehensive event report.
11 December 2012
|per kWH||per Year|
|Woodfuel - Logs||£0.023||£690|
|Woodfuel - Pellets||£0.052||£1560|
|Woodfuel - Chips||£0.026||£780|
|Oil - Kerosene||£0.07||£2100|