The North Easts sustainable fuel producer

Northumberland logs supplies firewood across the North East from its base just west of Morpeth and recently has diversified into willow chip harvested from its own willow plantation, adding to its sustainable wood fuel business.

The business started by selling timber from felled roadside trees and in 8 years has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of Firewood in the North East. The firewood is certified under the government’s ‘Woodsure Ready to Burn’ assurance certification with all dumpy bags achieving moisture levels below 20%.

Northumberland Logs’ point of difference is its environmental credentials throughout the supply chain. From woodland creation, sourcing of local timber and labour to its unique drying process, environmental impact is at the heart of decision making at the timber yard.

Once the local timber has been delivered, it is left to season in the yard for over 12 months before being processed on 3 firewood production lines. The timber is then stacked in polytunnels which act as a solar kiln utilizing the natural sunlight reducing the moisture content to ensure a good clean burn.

James the owner of Northumberland Logs states, “Right from the beginning, I felt it was imperative to work with the environment, creating wholly new woodland in addition to the requirements for replanting felled woodland. Firewood is a bulky product, and transporting it creates a large carbon footprint. I therefore have a strict local sourcing policy and refuse to import wood from abroad. I feel that burning wood to dry wood is poor use of a natural resources when natural sunlight can be utilized in our specially designed polytunnels to do the same job.”

Northumberland Logs also has a newly expanded sawmill, creating a range of commercial and bespoke products from fencing materials to hardwood boards for carpentry projects. This utilizes the best of the locally sourced timber on site and provides a bespoke experience for local businesses.

Recently Northumberland Logs have diversified into willow chip which is harvested from its own willow coppices. The chip is then sold for biomass fuel as well as being processed into wood fuel briquettes to be sold as a sustainable alternative to coal through the company’s website.

Finally, the chip is also available both in bags and bulk to customers for garden projects. Willow chip have many benefits including controlling weed growth, retaining soil moisture, regulating soil temperature, and encouraging earth worm populations whilst also adding organic matter to the soil as it decomposes. Willows unique composition also contains Salicylic acid which has been found to play an important role in plant health and resistance against several plant pathogens.

James states “Before harvesting the willow I had no idea as to its amazing benefits. Not only is it an example of a sustainable fuel, regenerating every 3 years, but it is also a fantastic wildlife habitat year-round, supporting a vast range of creatures throughout all seasons. Most interestingly, is the plant immune system benefits, which is something we hope to trial and investigate more in our plantations.”

With the pressure of energy prices and the government’s environmental Net Zero targets, Northumberland Logs is working hard to provide a sustainable, affordable alternative to fossil fuels for its customers. Through planting wholly new woodland, drying logs in solar kilns and coppicing willow, Northumberland Logs its setting itself apart as the environmentally sustainable log supplier in the North East.

Funding: Northumberland Logs has received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 – 2020 for a project to purchase a sawmill and associated equipment to scale up the milled timber element of the business. The Rural Business Growth Service is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.