Wood Stove Sales Up In UK: Logs Being Imported From As Far As Eastern Europe to Satisfy Demand

wood pile photo

photo: Rachael Voorhees via flickr

Considering the global recession and, more recently, conflict over natural gas flowing into Europe from Russia, this next tidbit is probably to be expected: The Guardian is reporting on how sales of wood-burning stoves have risen recently, in turn causing shortages of firewood forcing some suppliers to go so far as Eastern Europe to find good seasoned wood. Here's the gist of the situation:Wood Demand Up 25-30% A Year
Sales of wood burning stoves in the UK are up 50% in the last three months of 2008 compared to 2007. Hardly strange, all considered; if asked casually I might have guessed an even higher figure. According to forestry consultant Vince Thurkettle, cited by The Guardian, demand for wood is currently increasing 25-30% a year—on an island that is a bit more than 10% wooded and produces about 1 million tonnes of firewood a year, according to the Forestry Commission.

This rising demand is causing a shortage of good logs, which combined with prices as high as £95 ($139) per load of wood in the north and west of the country is causing some wood sellers to import wood from hundreds of miles away: Kent, Surrey and Sussex being listed as "favorite hunting grounds", or even Eastern Europe. Yes, some people are apparently driving wood, presumably in diesel-powered trucks, across all of Europe, to be burned in the UK.

Is Importing Logs From the Other Side of Europe Really a Good Idea?
Though the information officer at the Forestry Commission's Biomass Energy Centre describes the effects on the environment of burning wood, compared to oil or natural gas, as "negligible" (even if that wood has been transported by road or sea), I'd really like to see some numbers on that.

I mean, I like a good fire as much as the next person, but I have a hard time believing that trucking in wood from Poland to the UK to burn for heat makes environmental sense. Maybe TreeHugger readers can prove me wrong?

via: The Guardian
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