RENEWABLE Heat Incentive payments came under fire in a recent report commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the wood panel industry.

The report calls for an end to the incentive and states that any future subsidy regime for biomass “must be predicated on completion of a comprehensive and robust assessment of subsidy impact upon wood supply”.

“The UK wood supply is finite – and if wood is being burned for subsidy, it cannot be used in the construction industry as was the intention when these trees were planted,” the report reads.

It also asserts that “open-ended subsidy to burn a scarce natural resource is inconsistent with the net-zero commitments made by administrations across the UK”.

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The report states: “In the longer term, the answer might lie in planting more trees. However, (this) offers no prospect of early relief – the benefits of planting over the next few years will not be realised until 2040–60.”

Selaine Saxby MP, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: “Wood is too important a resource to burn. That is the basic contention of those of us who are calling on the UK Government to reconsider support for the Renewable Heat Incentive before a crisis is created for other users of our finite supply.”

Alastair Kerr, director general of the Wood Panel Industries Federation and secretary of the expert working group for the wood panel industry, commented: ​“All we are asking is for recognition from Government that wood is a finite resource and there is a conflict between burning it as fuel with taxpayer subsidy and using it for the purposes intended when trees were planted. Security of wood supply is now a major concern in determining our members’ investment plans.”

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