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News / The Burning Issue

The Burning Issue

April 15th 2012


The EU Renewable Energy Directive is a legally binding target for the UK to supply 15% of total energy demand from renewables by 2020.

As part of this, the government have placed a requirement on electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. This is incentivised financially using Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

ROCs are green certificates issued for the eligible renewable electricity generated and then used by the suppliers to demonstrate that they have met their obligation. Suppliers who don’t meet their obligation must pay into a ‘buy-out’ fund. This fund is re-distributed back to the suppliers who did meet their obligation in proportion to the number of ROCs they produced. The buy-out fund for 2010-11 across the UK totalled £361.1 million!

This large financial incentive ultimately means that demand for wood is increasing rapidly whilst at the same time electricity generators supported by the Renewable Obligation can afford to pay far more than currently paid by the wood panel industry. The burning of wood in electricity only power stations is extremely inefficient, wastes a valuable resource and emits CO2 directly to the atmosphere.  

We of course understand the importance of sourcing an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources. We also appreciate that it is by no means the intention of the renewables support mechanisms to adversely affect other industries. However, the unforeseen damage to our industry needs to be recognised and addressed - we are determined to do this and here at Decorative Panels we are playing a central role in lobbying government at all levels.

Much work has already been done within our industry in the attempt to highlight the detrimental effects we are all facing, the latest of which being a report commissioned by FIRA entitled ‘Biomass Subsidies and their impact on the British Furniture Industry.’ To aid the distribution of this report, we have placed a copy of this on our website within the news section In addition, FIRA and the British Furniture Confederation have launched a petition to present to government requesting a change in the legislation of biomass subsidies; this can be found by visiting

The Wood Panel Industries Federation is working with all the major UK panel producers to promote the campaign ‘Stop burning our trees’ which is directed at MPs and other policy-makers with the clear aim of prompting a re-think regarding these unfair subsidies that generators receive for burning wood.

More information on this campaign can be found at along with free support kits that you

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