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McEntee highlights growth of Wood Fuel Sector and presents Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme Certificates at the National Ploughing Championships

At the Ploughing Championships in New Ross today, Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, presented certificates to Worrell Harvesting Limited, Red Squirrel Logs Limited and Clare Wood Chip Limited, signifying their membership of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme.

The scheme is certified by National Standards Association of Ireland (NSAI) on behalf the WFQA, which comprises The Irish Bioenergy Association, as well industry and consumer representatives. Speaking at the presentation the Minister said "The use of forest-based fuels for energy production and heat accounts for close on one million cubic metres annually - or about one third of the total wood harvest. We are all aware of increasing use of wood fuels right across the country, as consumers become more aware of the value of fuels such as firewood, pellets, briquettes and woodchip. We estimate that in 2011 the firewood market alone was worth over €30 million, with a lot of the supply now coming from the first thinning of farmer-owned forest plantations. Most of this activity is rurally based and is making a contribution to local employment. It is important that the wood fuels that are coming to market are fit for purpose and are well presented and packaged. The Wood Fuel Quality initiative is geared to support companies to meet these demands and that is why my Department has provided grant aid to support its work".

Concluding, the Minister said "I want to congratulate the companies who have been successful in achieving certification by NSAI, and wish them and the existing members of the Wood Fuel Quality Scheme every success in growing the wood fuel sector into the future".

Ms Pat Murphy, Chair of the WFQA said "We have worked with the three companies concerned over the past year to support their WFQA applications, and I am delighted that we secured their membership. A number of other companies are in the membership pipeline and I hope they will be certified in the coming months. As a supplier of wood fuels and boilers I know how important it is that we base the growth of the wood fuel sector firmly on quality - this is what WFQA is all about. Our plan is to make our bright flame logo something that customers will increasingly look to when buying pellets, woodchip or indeed firewood".

For further information on the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme please contact Mr Noel Gavigan of IrBEA at 087 6845977.

Date Released: 26 September 2012