Energy policy needs to change

Published:  22 June, 2011

UK: The Make Wood Work campaign, backed by Norbord, was given extra weight when the world’s leading panel producer hosted a conference for some of the leading national housebuilder heavyweights and key MPs at The House of Commons.

In essence, the campaign highlights the negative impact that biomass subsidies – available to electricity generators through the Renewables Obligation (RO) policy – will have on the wood panel industry and other wood processors.

The message - that there simply is not enough wood available in the UK to support the number and scale of biomass electricity plants that are being processed for development - was presented by duo Tom Bruce Jones, Joint Managing Director of James Jones & Sons, and Karl Morris, Managing Director of Norbord Europe. Also under discussion was the effect that current government policy will have on UK PLC in terms of import dangers, the environmental damage, build prices and employment.

The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion session, a visit to the House of Commons chambers, and a dinner hosted by Rt Hon Anne McGuire with Lord Boswell of Anyho and Nick Harvey MP.

Karl Morris explained Norbord’s agenda, “We are asking government to show some joined-up thinking on this emotive biomass question. We are aiming for a level-playing field – with other industries in terms of subsidies - and hoping that the message is beginning to get through. We are planning our next roundtable discussions which will bring together the UK’s timber trade associations and continued government lobbying.”

The guests were asked to sign a letter to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, which outlined the “unintended consequences of current energy policy” and a rollout of similar letters to constituency MPs will follow.

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