Euroforest ready to deliver green energy and sustainability to Discovery Park

The opening of a new renewable energy plant at Discovery Park this summer is already bringing new jobs and opportunities to East Kent.

Euroforest, one of the biggest suppliers of wood and wood products in the UK has been granted the contract to supply the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility with its fuel for the next 20 years.

Over the course of this period the company will supply Kent Renewable Energy Ltd with 240,000 tonnes of wood fibre per annum - a mixture of hardwood and softwood logs, saw mill chippings and recycled wood materials.

The nerve centre for this operation will be Discovery Park, where Euroforest has already opened an office in readiness for August, the scheduled switch-on date for the site's own power source.

It will be staffed permanently with a fuel manager and administration support, but with a capacity to grow as the project develops. Four other operational staff will be based there too.

Further jobs will be created in the supply chain, from transport companies to logging contractors hired to deliver the wood, sourced from private and public woodland across Kent and the South-East.

Tim Leavers, Business Development and Support Manager for Euroforest, said: "The team have been delighted so far with the welcome and support they've received at Discovery Park.

"There's a real sense of teamwork here with great facilities. Being located across the road from the bio-mass plant that we'll be supplying is clearly a bonus too.

"One of the reasons Discovery Park was selected as the location for this new bio-mass facility was the shared vision for green energy, which fitted in well with the project.

"It's going to be a challenge for us as the sole supplier to the CHP plant at Discovery Park, but it's a great opportunity and we feel privileged to be part of it."

Euroforest will be seeking to source the woodland supplies locally wherever possible - from across Kent and East Sussex, extending to other parts of the South-East over the course of the contract.

This won't mean vast tracts of woodland disappearing to meet the demand, but rather selective woodland management that Tim explains will benefit Kent and the wider area from both a conservation and leisure perspective.

"We will be sourcing our wood from estate farm and private woodland owners, conservation organisations large and small projects alike. State and local authority woodlands will also provide some of our supply,” explains Tim.

"It's important to note that from a woodland management perspective that you can't just leave trees to their own devices.

"Without intervention, the woodland would begin to deteriorate with all the impact that would have both on trees and the wildlife they support.

"That is why foresters will regularly thin out sites to create a healthy environment for stronger, better quality trees to grow.

"Those trees identified for removal may be stunted or damaged in some way and these are the ones that will be sold to us.

"The government uses the term 'natural capital' to help justify in environmental, monetary and social terms the benefits of the countryside.

"This project will add to that creating opportunities for woodland owners to make an income and improving the health of woodland habitats to benefit other plants and wildlife.

"This in turn benefits local people allowing them to better enjoy the woodland - providing access, letting in more light and opening up views with all the health benefits that can bring."

Posted on 12/04/2018