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North Yorkshire timber to fuel "green" power station

[Thursday 11 January 2007]
power station
Teesside plant set to burn North yorkshire wood

NORTH Yorkshire's abundant woodland is set to play a key role in the battle to reduce Britain's greenhouse gas emissions.

The Forestry Commission is despatching the first consignment in 27,500 tonnes of timber from the region to Britain's biggest wood fuelled power station, being built on Teesside.

Constructed by SembCorp Utilities UK on the Wilton International site, the £60m plant called Wilton 10 will generate enough "green" power to run 30,000 homes.

Although commissioning is not due until next spring, stockpiling of timber and testing is now underway. The contract is the biggest individual deal sealed by the Forestry Commission in North Yorkshire.

"This is an exciting time," said Mark Weston, Harvesting Forester with the Commission.

"Our forests are managed for people and wildlife, but they have a crucial role to play in providing a sustainable resource. Our contract with SembCorp will be met out of our annual timber output of 100,000 tonnes, so it's very much business as usual on the ground. Using wood produces fewer emissions than fossil fuels and comes from a renewable source."

The Forestry Commission manages 56,000-acres of woodland in North Yorkshire, all of which has been certified as meeting top environmental standards by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Timber will be harvested from woods including Langdale Forest, near Pickering, Guisborough Forest, near Northallerton, and locations along the western fringe of the North York Moors, including Boltby.

Our forests are managed for people and wildlife, but they have a crucial role to play in providing a sustainable resource

Mark Weston Forestry Commission

The Wilton 10 boiler will require 300,000 tonnes of chipped wood every year. About 20 per cent will be supplied from the North York Moors and Kielder Forest Districts. A further 40 percent will be come from recycled wood, 20 per cent from saw mill off cuts and the reminder from short rotation coppiced willow - a fast growing energy crop.

Steve Bishop, Biomass Manager for SembCorp Utilities UK, said: "The Forestry Commission is one of our key suppliers and it's great to see wood arriving at the site. Construction at the site is continuing but the project is powering ahead."

North Yorkshire timber already finds its way into construction markets, fencing and pallet markets and also housing interiors. The annual planting season, which gets underway in the New Year, will see 400,000 saplings planted by hand to replace the trees felled and improve wildlife habitats.

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