Aug 13 Working for Yorkshire’s woodlands- By Ben
Established in 1998 Yorwoods is a not-for-profit public and private sector-backed initiative that provides support services to the forestry industry in Yorkshire. It has run a variety of projects throughout the region, helping forestry and timber businesses to write or implement management and business plans, advising rural businesses about accessing funding and providing training opportunities to woodland owners, managers and forestry contractors.
Yorwoods is part of Rural Development Initiatives, a full-service project management company with a focus upon the many industries that go to make up the UK rural economy and, at a time when security and diversity of the UK’s energy supply is being reviewed, has developed the award-winning Ignite Woodfuel Training Course to help further the precept of a low-carbon economy.
Yorwoods is responsible for the West Yorkshire Working Woodlands (WYWW) Project, part of the Green Infrastructure Programme being delivered by partners of the White Rose Forest, through funding from Yorkshire Forward. The Green Infrastructure Programme aims to demonstrate the benefits of enhancing green spaces and as part of this WYWW is advising upon and helping to develop management plans for council and privately-owned woodland in West Yorkshire. The project is also helping to identify economic opportunities, especially for woodfuel, facilitate the implementation of woodfuel supply where appropriate and organise a range of training opportunities. Advisory visits to help small woodland owners in West Yorkshire implement or improve management plans are free.
Woodlands are increasingly being recognised as an essential part of the county’s greenspace and for the potential economic benefits they can bring. The ups and downs of the domestic timber industry over the past twenty five years means that many West Yorkshire woodlands have been undermanaged or neglected, which has affected the quality of growing timber but the project manager, Ben Scotting, says, “There is currently a rapid growth of interest and take-up of woodfuel, whether this is for traditional wood-burning stoves or for modern boilers fed by woodchips or pellets. Issues of grading for structural strength are unimportant in the woodfuel market therefore there is potential for timber from all woodlands to be successfully used or sold.”
Yorwoods has also recently secured £100,000 for the LandSkills project, over a three-year period this will provide bespoke training to the forestry sector in Yorkshire; training that will be provided subject to industry demand and requirements. Carrick Armer, who is responsible for the LandSkills project says, "This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone involved in the forestry and woodlands sector to expand their skills base. If you've been thinking of training, whether in a technical area like forest machine operations or mobile sawmilling, a practical area like woodfuels, orchard management or coppicing, or even management in the form of marketing, grants and licences, we can arrange and help fund that training to help you to improve your business."
Yorwoods are contactable on 01765 609355 or visit their website at www.yorwoods.org.uk