The area served by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council used to be dominated by coal-mining: many residents were employed as miners and many public buildings are still heated by coal-fired boilers. But the Council also had a source of low-carbon fuel in the many tonnes of wood waste from its parks and gardens that it disposed of each year. So in June 2004, the Council adopted a Biomass Implementation Policy, committing it to considering biomass heating systems for all new and refurbished buildings.
By 2010, this policy had led to the installation of twelve biomass boilers with a total capacity of about 3 MW, covering a range of different uses. Wood replaced coal in some of the early schemes, including a 470 kW district heating scheme for 166 flats, a 500 kW scheme for the council depot, and a number of schools. In more recent schemes, wood has been used in new office buildings, in preference to gas. This work has enabled a small wood-chip supply business to start up, as well as making good use of the Council’s waste wood. There is plenty of scope to go further, with installations scheduled for new school buildings and others in the pipeline.