Forestry and wood processing provide a reliable, low risk and low cost means of reducing our net emissions of carbon dioxide. Trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into wood. This can then be manufactured into wood products and used to replace more energy-intensive construction materials. Woody biomass is already fuelling local-scale renewable energy power stations and boilers.
To supply these industries, around 350,000 lorry loads of sustainably grown logs are transported from British forests each year for processing in sawmills, pulp and paper mills and in wood energy plants. In order to better understand the contribution of timber transport to the overall carbon footprint of the industry, the Timber Transport Forum commissioned North Energy, a renewable energy and sustainability consultancy, to examine the greenhouse gas emissions from timber transport.
Timber transport emissions are relatively small, accounting for 6% of the emissions arising from producing one tonne of sawn timber and 15% for producing one tonne of biomass fuel.
This Information Note summarises the findings. The full Report Understanding the Carbon Footprint of Timber Transport 2010 comes with a Workbook that allows some of the assumptions and values to be changed.
In 2010 Forestry Commission Scotland commissioned a Timberlink Environmental Benefits Review which calculated the carbon emission savings provided by the service.