When the temperature drops, heating bills can soar, meaning that staying warm can have a sizeable impact on your back pocket.

According to the Woodland Trust, hundreds of people are avoiding the increasing cost of traditional fuel supplies by growing their own firewood.  And the charity is currently offering free expert advice and funding to help get tree planting underway.

Thanks to the Trust’s ‘MOREwoods’ scheme – supported by Biffa Award, Calor and Dorset Cereals – would-be tree planters can now apply for support to cover up to 60 per cent of the cost1.   It’s a simple scheme, with minimal paperwork, aimed at landowners wishing to plant a minimum of one acre.

Plant trees for fuel

Gregor Fulton, the Trust’s operations manager, says: “The increasing focus on energy – where it comes from and the cost – means that planning your future energy needs now is certainly advisable. If you’re lucky enough to own a piece of land, depending on what tree species are planted, you could be coppicing your own firewood within a decade.

“Trees, of course, bring other benefits too, from enhancing the look of unused land to providing much-needed homes for wildlife.  The benefits start from the actual day of planting, with insects starting to colonise and attracting birds and mammals higher up the food chain.

“The Woodland Trust will check that the land is suitable for planting, and offer advice on the woodland design and choice of species.  Birch, for example, grows quickly but the wood also burns faster than other species.”

Home-grown firewood can, with careful management, be available within seven to 15 years of planting, with annual sustainable supplies thereafter.  Around two to three hectaresof new native woodland will produce enough fuel to heat a typical three-bedroom house.

Gregor continues: “Some landowners will be eligible for grant-aid from Forest Service’s Woodland Grant Scheme.  Those who don’t qualify for government funding can apply for support from the Woodland Trust.  In either case, we’ll offer straightforward advice and will point you in the right direction.”

For a copy of the Trust’s new wood fuel leaflet; to apply for funding; or to simply find out more call 0845 293 5689, email woodlandcreation@woodlandtrust.org.uk or visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/firewood

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