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Wood recyclers 'confused' by boiler fuel guidance

The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) is calling for clarification on the grades of wood acceptable for smaller boilers, saying there is inconsistency in guidance to manufacturers and fuel suppliers.

The trade body’s concern is about biomass boilers that do not have to be compliant with the Waste Incineration Directive (WID).

The Environment Agency (EA) says only clean, grade A wood can be used in non-WID boilers. But the WRA maintains that local authority guidance allows a mix, in some circumstances, of grade A and grade B.

This particular mix can used in non-WID boilers processing less than three tonnes an hour, under a ’B Permit’. Lower grades, C and D, are more hazardous and go to WID-compliant boilers or incinerators, respectively.

The WRA says it has found inconsistencies in guidance to boiler manufacturers and fuel suppliers. It claims some manufacturers are selling non-WID compliant boilers on the basis that lower grade wood can be burned in them.

While it awaits clarification, the WRA has adopted an interim position of recommending only the use of virgin or untreated pre-consumer waste wood in small-scale non-WID compliant boilers.

It has also temporarily stopped giving new membership to manufacturers until the situation is clarified.

WRA chair Andy Hill said: “We know there are situations where lower grade materials have been used … and that has prompted us to look at exactly what guidance is available for our members. Having done that, it is clear the guidance is inconsistent and ambiguous, which is totally unacceptable.

“We will be working with the EA, Ofgem, the Biomass Suppliers List and local authority representatives to ensure that there is consistency on this issue in the future,” he added.

“We need clarification and consistent guidelines from the bodies who regulate this industry, and we will be strict with our membership to ensure that guidance is followed by anyone within our organisation.”

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