Herefordshire Villagers Invest in Wood Fuelled Heating

5th Aug 2011

Villagers in Herefordshire have established a wood fuelled co-operative, digging deep into their own pockets after funding for the scheme fell through.

The scheme will see boilers in community centres and local businesses powered by locally-sourced fuel from county woodlands, after residents in Woolhope and Fownhope managed to raise £30,000 between them to fund the community wood co-operative.

Established by Fownhope Carbon Reduction Action Group, the project is supported by not-for-profit organisation Sharenergy and will see the co-operative’s members own and operate the wood-chip-powered boilers, which will be installed in local premises.

Residents’ money will enable the project to launch its full public share issue in October. With individuals, businesses and organisations able to invest between £250 to £20,000, the co-operative’s share offer will raise the money needed to fund the installation of the wood-chip boilers.

The development manager for the co-operative, Ben Dodd, said he was “delighted with the response from local people”.

“We had a gap in funding due to the demise of Advantage West Midlands and the community have rallied round, dug deep and secured the necessary funds to continue,” he added.

The co-operative will be eligible to receive interest on its investment by way of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. Developed by the Renewable Energy Association, the RHI will see a fixed amount paid per year to anyone using a renewable heating alternative, such as a biomass boiler or heat pump technology.