What is Woodsure?

24 June 2024

Woodsure’s purpose is to improve the quality of wood fuel across the UK. Woodsure certification demonstrates that a wood fuel has followed stringent checks to ensure it not only adheres to legal requirements, but it also has assured sustainability – from fell to supply. Sustainable wood fuel has a ripple effect across the supply chain – sustainable wood fuel enables sustainably managed forests, which in turn provide consumers with the confidence that their wood fuel is supporting local economies whilst sustaining the local environment.

Woodsure was founded by Andrew Harvey in 2009, finding its roots in his shopfitting business – Harvey Shopfitters Limited. The business’s fitouts and construction activities combined with an extensive workshop led to an increasingly large supply of wood offcuts. Harvey visited some local biomass boilers to find efficient and sustainable methods of utilising these offcuts, with his visits revealing how a vast amount of the wood chip currently in use was of poor quality. This poor-quality chip would not only be much less efficient in the biomass boilers, but also indicated unsustainable production and supply – sparking an idea with as much ambition as promise.

Following this discovery, fuelled by existing passion for the local environment, a small project was launched. Harvey Shopfitters used their own offcuts to create high-quality woodchip, supplying these for free to a local school that used a biomass boiler. The success of this project only generated more questions: why was there not a nationwide method of assuring the quality of wood fuel? Increased efficiency, sustainability, and air quality all arose from the use of quality wood fuel, so why is it not more widely utilised? This local school would be a turning point for what would become Woodsure; the success and efficiency made the need for quality wood fuel abundantly clear. Simply supplying the local community with quality chip was not sufficient; a way for businesses to provide assurance that their wood fuel was of the highest quality across the UK would have a resonating effect across the industry. Consumers, suppliers, and the environment alike would benefit from such a scheme.

The early musings of Woodsure were based on personal experience. It was well understood that a comprehensive and rigorous testing procedure was necessary – quality wood fuel provided a multitude of tangible benefits to consumers whilst simultaneously maintaining sustainability across woodlands. However, for such a scheme to succeed, unnecessary administrative procedures for producers and suppliers must be avoided.

With a vision driven by passion, there were clear goals for what a wood fuel quality assurance scheme would look like and what it would aim to achieve. A clear mark displaying that a wood fuel has undergone comprehensive quality testing would provide assurance to consumers and producers alike that sustainability requirements have been followed, highlighting those striving for best industry practices. Such a scheme would encourage the entire sector to do better. A framework of quality provides clear, palpable targets for producers, enabling them to practically improve their product in ways that are suitable for them. Equipping producers with the information, guidance, and advice allows for the industry to continuously strive to improve. Harvey’s first-hand experience of producing and supplying quality wood chip meant that a fuel quality assurance scheme could provide increased sustainability with minimal additional administrative procedures, driving sustainability in an industry that has the potential of creating an array of benefits.

The key driver behind Woodsure was, and remains, air quality. Improved sustainability, efficiency, air quality, and energy security can all result from the processes behind high-quality wood fuel production and supply, with the Woodsure mark allowing end-users to easily identify quality wood fuel. Harvey Shopfitters thus formed the Woodsure scheme, developing its procedures to stay true to the company’s environmental commitment. The industry, along with its growing number of end-users, has benefitted from a nationally recognised voluntary quality standard that is comprehensive and rigorous, yet is not an administrative burden for producers and suppliers. Woodsure joined with HETAS in 2014, now being a wholly owned subsidiary with Andrew Harvey remaining as the chair.

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