Britain’s Trees under Threat

Britain’s trees are under threat from pests and diseases coming into the country via imported firewood Britains Trees under threat 1logs purchased to heat our homes. One of the most noted threats is the emerald ash borer, a beetle which has already devastated woodlands across America and Europe. In a post-Brexit Britain, Andrew Harvey founder of Woodsure and director of Grown in Britain, is calling on consumers to ‘buy British’ logs to help protect our woodlands and biosecurity…

With the rise in popularity of wood-burning stoves – around 300,000 have been purchased in the last two years –many homeowners are buying their logs online and importing them from overseas. Little do they know, that at the click of the button they could actually be putting the UK’s woodlands at risk of devastating diseases and pests.

Britains Trees under Threat 2The emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle is one such pest that has the potential to wipe out the UK’s ash trees. Native to Asia, the insect has killed tens of millions of trees across Russia, Canada and the United States since it was discovered in Ontario in 2002.  It is estimated that costs for treatment, removal and replacement of trees affected by emerald ash borer in Canadian municipalities alone, may reach $2 billion over a 30-year period.

The EAB beetle hasn’t yet been found in the UK, although the threat is very real and it could arrive on our shores in a matter of days, lurking in logs that have been imported for distribution. Last year, the amount of firewood imported into the UK was equal to £7 million. While native trees have built up their immunity and are protected against insects and diseases that live here in the UK, they have no natural defences against foreign insects and diseases.  With little to stop them, foreign bugs quickly reproduce and in no time at all and have the power to kill any trees in their path.

1 Canadian Forest Service (CFS)

Andrew Harvey, founder of Woodsure and director of Grown in Britain, two organisations working together to improve the quality of woodfuel in Britain, says: “Wood-burning stoves have become the fashion accessory, and they are certainly a much more efficient, economical and environmentally-friendly way of heating your home compared to coal, oil, or gas.  Our message to consumers is to think before they buy their woodfuel about where it’s coming from for the benefit of our woodlands and our economy.  (Find out Why Being Woodsure Approved Is Good for Business)Britains Trees under threat 3

“The Government has increased security at our borders, but it’s simply not possible to check every log or every pallet that comes through. We also feel it should be a key element for post-Brexit discussions. To help us take extra preventative measures, we’re asking consumers to buy British woodfuel from a local, trusted supplier.”

Currently 42% of the UK’s woodlands are under-managed. In purchasing locally sourced wood, consumers will not only help to improve the industry and quality of home grown wood, but also support local jobs and local economies.

Andrew adds: “Britain has some of the best woodlands in the world and the potential to have a thriving woodfuel market. Wood can be an efficient, sustainable source of energy and we should be encouraging its use and looking to reacquire the skills to make the most of it. At Woodsure, we’re keen to encourage more harvesting and planting, thereby ensuring healthier woodlands in Britain.”

Founded in 2009, Woodsure was created to provide a level of assurance for consumers when looking to buy wood fuel. It has established itself as the hallmark of quality, conscientiousness and responsibility for installers, suppliers and consumers.  Look for the logo or find your local approved supplier at www.woodsure.co.uk

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