Despite being a small business Southwest Firewood are striving towards being carbon neutral. We believe the responsible use of wood fuel is going to be vital as we tackle the climate crisis. In line with these aims we have changed the ways we operate our business to reduce the carbon footprint of each load as much as possible. Our key control measures are listed below:
- We now only source timber from within 50 miles of our base at Parkgate. This reduces road miles on lorries and mitigates biohazards associated with transporting possibly diseased timber
- 90% of our processing equipment has been transitioned from diesel to 3 phase electrics to reduce our usage of diesel at our Parkgate base
- All the heat for our firewood drying kiln and office is provided by a 135kw Biomass boiler that runs on logs we produce ourselves
- We have invested in additional equipment which allows us to handle timber of a much lower quality than previously. We can now collect, transport and process oversized timber with minimal waste allowing us to make use of windblown trees and non-uniform timber that would be rejected by other processors or sawmills. This timber would otherwise go to waste.
- We have also increased our utilization of waste products, after feedback from customers we invested in a cleaning screen which removes small logs, bark, and sawdust (otherwise known as chaff) from our product leaving a much cleaner more uniform product for the customer. This material although not marketable does have a fuel value and we now supply it to the biomass power station in Lockerbie who add it into their fuel mix. Sawdust produced by our saws is extracted and used as animal bedding by local farms. We aim to have very little to zero waste left after our production process.
Wood fuel when used responsibly is a carbon neutral source of fuel. At Southwest Firewood we have taken steps to ensure that all the timer which enters our yard and ends up in your logs is sourced sustainability. The key control measures we use are lifted below:
- Membership of the BSL and Woodsure quality assurance schemes. As part of our membership to these accredited schemes we must complete a regional based risk assessment to ensure that our timber is being sourced responsibly and from within the range or 50 miles that we claim. In the case that we buy timber which isn’t from an FSC approved forest we ask to see and keep copies of timber management plans which include replanting targets for any suppliers we buy timber from aside from when it is a very small lot supply i.e., a one-off purchase or clear up of a wind-blown tree for example.
- Utilization of low-quality timber has become a larger part of our sustainability plan. Timber that is too big or not uniform i.e., twisty like and older tree is of little use for any standard processing machinery or sawmills and is often left to rot where it falls. Although a small amount of lying deadwood can be an important part of the ecosystem too much is wasteful. We have invested heavily in new machinery which allows us to collect, transport and process this timber into high quality firewood logs. This is especially prevalent after large storms where many older trees fall. We aim to make use of this underutilised resource.
- At Southwest Firewood we fell that the UK is very lucky to have a large and thriving national forest and proper use of this resource is the best way to move towards a net zero future. On this principle we are 100% against the importing of timber for firewood logs from overseas. This creates a huge carbon footprint for each load and poses a threat to the national forest in the UK from the transfer of diseases prevalent in forests overseas but not in the UK. Southwest Firewood will never import timber.