AN Abbots Bromley wood processing site is helping council chiefs save thousands of pounds a year as it helps boost the economy.
The East Staffordshire site is helping in an innovative project to heat Staffordshire County Council buildings including schools as it protects the environment while boosting the economy.
The project has seen biomass boilers, which are powered by wood chips sourced from the county, installed in buildings including the county council’s main office accommodation which are powered by a single boiler.
As temperatures drop to freezing levels, the project really is demonstrating value for money.
Timber is sustainably harvested as part of forestry management operations from Cannock Chase, another Forestry Commission site and private estates and hauled to a wood fuel processing site at Abbots Bromley.
The wood fuel is made from the lowest grade of timber (chipwood) that is traditionally is sold to a company near Wrexham. The round trip mileage saving for each timber movement is over 100 miles in HGV.
The timber is chipped into previously redundant agricultural units near the village, providing jobs and supporting Staffordshire business.
In addition, a Staffordshire company is used to transport the wood fuel around the county so most of the income generated from our wood fuel business is recycled within the county.
Mark Winnington, the council’s environment and assets leader, said the project provided the ideal cost-saving solution to heating buildings where thousands of people work and learn.
“The biomass project is a fantastic innovation by the county council and benefits not only the county council and our schools, but the wider taxpayer as its helping to drive down fuel costs.
“In addition, we’re supporting the local economy by using Staffordshire businesses to process and transport the wood fuel.
“And of course there are the environmental benefits of using a renewable source of energy and not having to bring in fuel from other parts of the country.
“This is another example of how the county council is leading the way in finding innovative ways of driving down waste, increasing efficiencies and getting the best value for money for Staffordshire people.”
The felling of trees is an essential part of sustainable forest management.
Biomass boilers have are now up and running at Standon Bowers outdoor education centre near Eccleshall and Kingsemead Technology College in Hednesford. It is also currently being installed at Cannock Chase High School, the county’s biggest high school.