Managing traditional hedges for biofuel

Here we outline the results of trials carried out in Southern England to assess the efficiency, cost and viability of coppicing hedges as a local and sustainable source of woodfuel. Machinery and methods were tested at different scales and the impacts on the local environment assessed. Building on work in South West England and Northern France the trials demonstrated that that hedges can be managed effectively and economically to produce woodfuel of reasonable quality which meets industry standards. However, the introduction of coppice management of hedges for woodfuel is likely to have both positive and negative impacts on the wildlife of individual hedges and on biodiversity at a landscape scale. To address this, alongside the trials a protocol was developed to assess the likely impacts on biodiversity of managing hedgerows for woodfuel.