It might seem somewhat strange to even contemplate, but did you know that much of the kiln dried logs sold in the UK actually come from Eastern Europe from countries such as Latvia and Lithuania.
How can I tell if logs are imported?
1. Firstly you should ask your potential supplier where the wood comes from, but if this is not possible, then there are a few ways to tell.
2. All imported wood for bulk is supplied in wooden pallet cages and stacked neatly, either in 1m3 or 2m3 pallets.
3. If supplied in small retail nets, European wood will normally be a volume declaration in ‘litres’, the common measurement in Europe. Also the nets will be plain, often orange or yellow.
4. If the wood is 100% Silver Birch or Alder, it is invariably going to be from Europe.
Why should I buy British?
1. Firewood produced in the UK travels very little distance in comparison to that sourced from Eastern Europe. Bear in mind it is 1,700 miles to Latvia!
2. CO2 emissions will be very high in transporting wood these distances. Being such a bulky product it is also very costly to transport.
3. All management of British woodland is controlled by the Forestry Commission in that you need a felling licence by law to cut down trees in woodland. This avoids illegal logging and clear felling.
4. Eastern European countries are less well regulated and it is said that quite a lot of timber felled in Russia finds its way across the borders into Eastern Europe. The source therefore is less secure.
5. Buying British firewood supports the local economy, jobs and businesses.
6. It means that woodland can be properly thinned and managed providing a market for smaller trees that are removed to provide more light and space for the other trees to grow.
7. Better managed woodland means improved environment for flora and fauna.
8. Most importantly we MUST utilise our beautiful woodlands and the fuel they produce. Proper management and utilisation and a sustainable UK forestry industry will lead to more woodland creation.
What should I look for to ensure high quality British firewood?
HETAS, the governing body setting standards for multi fuel stoves, wood burners, biomass boilers, installers, and solid fuel recently set up the Quality Assured Fuel Scheme and Certainly Wood became the first firewood supplier to become approved under this scheme. (www.hetas.co.uk)
Whilst there are only very few suppliers registered under this scheme, it is highly recommended to use suppliers that carry the HETAS Quality Assured Fuel logo as this will ensure you get a consistently high quality fuel.
The scheme ensures that the following key items are quantified on all consignments whether supplied in small retail packs or large bulk deliveries:
• Source (British or European must be stated)
• Moisture content (This must be below 25%)
• Log length (Standard length is 25cm, but others can be declared)
• Pack volume (normally declared in metre cubed, either as a ‘stacked’ volume or ‘loose fill’
Providing these details ensure you know where the wood comes from and its quality.