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New Wood Fuel Business In Caithness

11th September 2006

Photograph of New Wood Fuel Business In Caithness

People in and around Caithness who use a solid fuel system are set to benefit from having a new local supplier to provide their wood fuel.

Paul and Diane Barrett moved to Caithness from Essex, following the purchase of South Quintfall Forest Lyth, four years ago. Both have been involved in operating a horticulture business in Essex for 12 years and bring a wealth of experience to the new business. The forest is mature having being planted with sitka spruce and lodge poles in 1980, covering an area of 454 acres.

The business has been assisted with a 5,700 business start-up and development grant from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE). The money will help with the purchase of a new firewood processor, which cuts trees into logs.

Trees will be felled from the forest and cut into wood fuel which will then be packed in cubic metre bags. The very small trees and brash will be chipped and bagged to be used as garden mulch, child play areas, animal bedding and bio fuel.

Forestry support group, North Highland Forest Trust, has been commissioned by Paul Barrett to produce a 5-year management plan for the South Quintfall Forest, focusing on improving the forest habitat for wildlife. All felling has been approved by Forestry Commission and RSPB.

Wood is a safe and clean fuel, presenting no risk if accidentally released into the environment and contains almost no sulphur and very little nitrogen. Emissions from burning wood fuel are also very low compared to burning fossil fuels. The ash produced when burning wood is also an excellent fertiliser and presents none of the economic and environmental costs of conventional alternatives.

Paul Barrett said: "To us wood fuel seems to represent a positive situation all the way - employment in collecting and processing the fuel, a more stable price and of course the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. I'm confident for the future and hopefully down the line we can employ someone local who would help out with the day to day duties."

Ian Thomson, Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise development manager said: "Sourced from sustainably managed woodlands, wood fuel can provide carbon
neutral heat and power to communities and businesses. Woodlands which produce the wood fuel will be replanted with native broadleaves and scots pine, therefore making it a completely renewable resource. CASE is pleased to fund this project which brings much benefit to the area."


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