With a large portion of the UK’s imported firewood now arriving from Eastern Europe, there are increasing concerns around the integrity of the supply.
The volume of firewood being imported has increased dramatically over the last 3-4 years. The upscaling of production must coincide with an increase in quality assurance, ensuring the elimination of pests and diseases, proper kiln dried temperatures (greater than 100°C), and ensuring logs are kiln dried for an appropriate amount of time.
If imported wood is not dried sufficiently, the chances of pests surviving under the bark increases, which is a risk that could potentially affect wildlife and the tree life in this country.
If you are buying imported firewood it is important that you inspect the wood you are buying very carefully, particularly if you are buying online. If you are unsure what you are looking for then here is a quick checklist of things you should be asking yourself:
- Where is the wood sourced from?
- Has the wood been kiln dried? Ask at what temperature and for what duration they dry the logs for.
- Is the wood quality assured by reputable organisations such as Woodsure/HETAS? – the only recommended quality assurance scheme for wood fuel.
- What is the moisture content of the wood? – it needs to be below 20%; they can prove this with a moisture meter.
There are some telltale signs that will show whether the wood you’re buying has been imported if you think it is being falsely advertised:
- If the wood is stacked in crates.
- If the wood is in large plain nets and sold by the litre. UK suppliers deal by weight or volume, not litres.
- 100% silver birch or alder wood is most likely imported firewood. These species burn much faster than woods such as oak, beech and ash. Eastern Europe has much larger quantities of these species of trees than the UK does.