Cairngorms National Park

View to Braemar

Woodfuel goes online in Cairngorms National Park

2nd February 2010

USING wood to heat homes and businesses in the Cairngorms National Park could cut fuel bills by up to two thirds, boost the local economy – and shrink residents’ carbon footprints.

A new website www.lowcarboncairngorms.org which highlights ways in which the Park’s abundant natural wood resource can be harnessed more effectively, has been given the thumbs up by local businesses and sector leaders.

People with little or no knowledge of the array of options for using wood for heating can discover a wealth of straightforward information on the basics of wood fuel and where to find out more.

Suppliers of the ever improving range of technologies are being urged to list their businesses on the website’s directory. The project also aims to help firewood businesses keep standards consistent, increasing the vitality of the local market for wood fuel.

The website has been launched as part of Woodfuel in the Cairngorms, a joint venture between the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Clim-ATIC, an EU funded project to help rural communities adapt to climate change.

Tree surgeon Stuart Burgess of Cairngorm Tree Care welcomed the initiative, saying it would help a dynamic woodland culture re-emerge in the Park.

“Heating our homes with wood is not only sustainable and ecological but also steeped in tradition and folklore,” he said.

“Now many people are embracing the come back of wood fuel. Some of us sit down to a romantic open fire and others are installing highly efficient wood boiler systems in their homes. There is no getting away from the fact that wood fuel is back.

“Using a natural sustainable source of energy that is abundant within the Cairngorms National Park makes heaps of sense. Interest in wood fuel is really starting to rocket.

“Wood burning stove sales have increased dramatically and government backed grant schemes are encouraging the installation of automated wood fuel systems in our communities,” Mr Burgess added.

Highland councillor Ian Ross, who chairs the Cairngorms Wood Fuel Steering Group and the Highlands and Islands Forestry Forum, said: “Switching from fossil fuels to locally produced, renewable sources of fuel will put communities ahead of the game, both economically and in meeting the climate change targets for reductions in greenhouse gases.

“This website is an essential port of call for forward thinking residents and businesses within the Cairngorms National Park.

“Wood doesn’t only make sense in terms of environmental benefits. Wood fuel systems are much cheaper to run and not vulnerable to the fluctuations of international oil and gas markets.”

Willie Beattie, a biomass development officer with Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “This dedicated website for the Cairngorms National Park will help promote all aspects of woodfuel use and supplement events planned for the coming year, which we look forward to taking part in.

“The new website will also complement our national site – www.usewoodfuel.co.uk – which gives guidance on funding opportunities, including The Scotland Rural Development Programme.”

A wide-ranging series of free events throughout the Park will help people learn more about the options open to them.

To find out more and book a place on the next one, Making the Most of Farm Woodlands, in Glenbuchat, Strathdon on 9 March go to www.lowcarboncairngorms.org/woodfuel/calendar.asp or phone 01479 870535.