Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Monday, January 02, 2006

Forestry industry fears mass job losses

New Zealand may need to examine both regional and national consequence of a 'forestry' based biomass industry..

Wood Waste streams are not all they seem, especially if subject to economic incentive perturbations such as carbon tax (although now not on the horizon, other renewable incentives are likely) AND improved efficiency of materials handling at source. Scotland is experiencing such concerns. /Blair

Forestry industry fears mass job losses / by GUY DIXON

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into the future of the forestry industry amid fears that plans to generate energy from renewable sourcescould lead to large-scale job losses.

Companies operating in sawmilling, paper production, panel board manufacture and horticulture are concerned that an expected boom in demand for wood from biomass generators - which make energy from forestry off-cuts, crops and waste - will starve them of supplies.

They believe the extra demand from the energy companies will push prices of logs, sawdust, chips and bark to unsustainable levels and lead to cuts in Scotland's forestry-related industries, which supports thousands of jobs. see<>The Forestry Commission, the Confederation of Forest Industries and the Wood Panel Industries Federation are contributing to the study, which will look at whether enough wood will be grown in Scotland and northern England over the next 10 years to meet growing commercial demand.

The problem has come to a head because of government commitments to generate 10% of the UK's electricity by renewable sources by 2010 in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

To do this, it wants electricity generators to burn fewer fossil fuels such as coal and oil and use renewable sources, and is offering biomass companies lucrative public subsidies through a "Renewables Obligation" which is designed to offset production costs.

Alan Bloomfield, convener of the steering group responsible for commissioning the study, said: "UK wood production was recorded at 11million cubic metres in 2004 and the forecasts of future coniferous wood production potential from the Forestry Commission and private wood growers indicate this figure could rise to 14.5 million cubic metres by 2012.

"However, a fast-changing forest industry scenario, with an increasingnumber of wood processing and biomass energy projects announced or planned, has led to a demand for more accurate information to be available to all industries with an interest in the use of wood fibre.

It is hoped that this will provide a clearer and more comprehensive forward picture of availability of biomass over the next decade."

E.ON, the German utility, said recently that it would build a �90m biomass power plant near Lockerbie which will create around 300 jobs. The plant is expected to use around 450,000 tons of biomass material annually.

One of the companies that will read the findings of the study with interest is Stirling-based panel manufacturer Norbord, which employs around 1,000 people in the UK, including 450 in Scotland.

Steve Roebuck, a director at Norbord, said thousands of jobs in Scotland's panel board industry alone are at risk from the increase in demand from biomass and unfair government subsidies.

He said: "The problem we have is that virtually all of the economically available sources are already being used. If nothing changes, the material that's being used in industries like floorboard manufacturewill go into biomass. It could shut us down."

The study, which will look at projected supply and demand for wood until 2015, is expected to deliver the first of its findings in the new year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Trade and Industry said the government is currently examining the findings of a task force into the biomass industry and would respond next June.
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