Tree Frog Daily Forestry News

Daily news for August 18 2017

Today’s Takeaway

So, are wildfires good or bad? The answer is both.

Tree Frog Forestry News
August 18, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Are wildfires good or bad? According to an editorial in the Williams Lake Tribune, the answer is both–contrary to the back and forth on social media–as “wildfire issues and actions are not cut and dried”. Ecologist Chad Hanson (California) says fires in the back country should be left to burn. “Fires have been happening for millions of years and actually help to rejuvenate forests and the wildlife that occupies those forests”. Wildfire specialist Mike Flannigan (Alberta), points to the four main factors that affect wildfires: “forest fuels, human activity, ignition sources and weather”.

The loss of ten per cent of UBC’s Interior Research Forest to wildfires is “offering some unique research opportunities on fuel and fire management”, according to manager Ken Day, “to better understand how they influence wildfires”. According to researchers at the Woods Hole Research Center, University of Utah, the “drought recovery period for trees is lasting longer than ever before, likely because of climate change”. 

Finally, although the latest wildfire news in BC is mostly positive, headlines in Montana (Beast of Lolo Peak fire) and Oregon (1000 Sisters residents told to prepare to evacuate) remain grim.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

 

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Forestry

SFI’s Annual Conference is Right Around the Corner

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Are you interested in the future of our forests and our shared quality of life? Do you want to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday? Do you want to learn more about partnerships with Indigenous peoples or youth and environmental education? Or do you care about green buildings, secure supply chains and conservation of birds, species at risk and other forest critters? If so, please join us at the 2017 SFI Annual Conference – Forests. A Way of Life – September 27-29, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Our conference agenda is jam packed with speakers from across North America and beyond, highlighting issues of importance to the forest products sector.

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Wildfire issues and actions not cut and dried

Williams Lake Tribune
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s nothing like watching a good scrap unfold on Facebook. Keyboard combat, I like to call it. But contrary to all the back and forth on social media, there are very few issues in this world that are truly black and white.  …So, are wildfires good or bad? The answer is both. Looking at wildfires strictly from the perspective of danger to human life or economic losses, wildfires can be absolutely devastating. Certainly the Cariboo Chilcotin faces a very uphill battle in terms of economic recovery from this summer’s fires. From an environmental perspective, however, this frightening destruction is actually crucial to forest renewal, diversity and balance.

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Partial loss of University of British Columbia research forest to fire leads to unlikely research opportunities

CBC News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ten per cent of a research forest operated by the University of British Columbia near Williams Lake has been burned by wildfire this summer. And while UBC researchers are working to protect the 10,000-hectare forest, which is home to a number of long-term projects, the damage is offering some unique opportunities. “I’ve found it quite interesting… looking at the [forest fire] treatment we’ve done over our 30-year history and some even before the research forest was established,” manager Ken Day told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot. “Part of the variability in fire effects [within the UBC forest] is what our treatment effects have done to the fuel load in the past.” Day says zones where the forest floor was thinned of burnable material, like dead wood, saw reduced fire intensity and reduced mortality of trees in the fire’s path.

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Science says forests should be left to burn

By Tim Collins
BC Local News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…”We are spending millions of dollars and unnecessarily putting fire fighters’ lives at risk by pursuing a strategy that really doesn’t make sense from a scientific point of view. When a fire occurs in the back country, it should be left to burn,” said Chad Hanson, founder of the John Muir project, an advocacy group dedicated to the restoration of forest ecology in North America. Hanson, who has his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, maintains that letting back-woods fires burn is a far better strategy than dedicating resources to those remote, weather driven fires. “The problem begins with this notion that fires destroy forests. In fact the opposite is true. Fires have been happening for millions of years and actually help to rejuvenate forests and the wildlife that occupies those forests. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but the research is clear.”

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Is it time to start protecting caribou habitat from forest fires? Northwest Territories Métis leader says yes

CBC News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As forest fire season continues in the Northwest Territories, a Métis leader is raising long-standing concerns about the effect those fires are having on the habitats of the territory’s beleaguered caribou herds. Typically, residential areas, high-value commercial forests and recreational sites are top priorities for organizing firefighting efforts. Protecting wilderness parks and remote forests of limited economic value — many including caribou grazing grounds — is a lower priority for the territorial government.

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Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Commits to Delaying the Posting of the Draft Species At Risk Guide

Wawa News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is pleased with the commitment to delay the posting of the draft Species At Risk (SAR) guide for 28 species to the Environmental Registry by the Hon. Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The commitment was made during the annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and is welcomed news to northern municipal leaders who have been asking for the delay. “There were significant concerns that the posting of a draft SAR guide would see little change before becoming policy and ultimately have dire consequences across northern and rural Ontario,” said Mayor Al Spacek of Kapuskasing and President of FONOM. “It would in essence, shut down the economy in many of our communities” continued Spacek.

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Forest Service considers tree planting to boost recovery

By Dianne L Stallings
Ruidoso News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Staff of the Lincoln National Forest propose to authorize restorative tree plantings in areas showing slow natural recovery following disturbance events including, but not limited to wildland fire, insect infestation, or disease. The project also would allow for restorative planting in other disturbed sites where natural regeneration is not occurring at high enough rates for forest cover to return within acceptable time frames. Insects, disease, and wildfire events are becoming more frequent and severe throughout the southwest, staff said. Severe disturbance events can remove forest cover from the landscape. Most conifer trees are poor seed dispersers and seeds are stored only for brief periods within the soil, requiring either an adjacent seed source or planting for reestablishment. Without this action, it often takes multiple decades longer for the forested landscape to become reestablished and many more decades to grow into a mature forest.

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Local groups ask Benton commission to back out of timber lawsuit

By Anthony Rimel
Corvallis Gazette-Times
August 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A group of 15 environmental, outdoor, community and progressive organizations asked the Benton County Commission to pull the county out of a $1.4 billion lawsuit against the state of Oregon by a group of Oregon counties over lost revenue from state forest lands. The representatives of the group used the public comment session of Tesday’s commission meeting to read into the record a letter arguing the lawsuit could compromise the health of state forests, contribute to global warming and harm the state’s budget for schools, social services and county funding. Groups signed onto the letter included the Audubon Society of Corvallis, the Oregon Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters of Corvallis, 350 Corvallis, the Benton Forest Coalition, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and Our Revolution Corvallis Allies.

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Mechanical thinning begins in Dry Lake Hills north of Flagstaff

By Emery Cowan
Arizona Daily Sun
August 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

For the next four and a half months, the sounds of feller bunchers, processors and lumber trucks will be a common one around the lower Dry Lake Hills and the base of Mount Elden. This week, loggers are getting into full swing on the thinning of 642 acres of forest north of Flagstaff as part of the Flagstaff Watershed Restoration Project, or FWPP. The deadline for those acres to be completed is the end of the year. The work is part of the first phase of the fuels reduction project, which uses hand and mechanical thinning as well as prescribed fire in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds. The work aims to mitigate the risk of severe fires and destructive post-fire flooding around Flagstaff’s key water sources. A $10 million bond to support the project was approved by the city’s voters in 2012. 

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4FRI stallout vindicates city-funded thinning plan

Arizona Daily Sun
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Five years seems like a long time to turn a vote at the polls for Flagstaff watershed protection into an on-the-ground forest restoration project. But considering how long it has taken to get a different project, the Four Forests Restoration Initiative, underway, the Flagstaff project almost looks like a rush job. ,,,4FRI, on the other hand, is designed to be funded primarily by industry on Forest Service lands, and the first 300,000 acres were put out to bid for treatment. Numerous stakeholders worked hard to achieve a fragile consensus on the cutting plan itself. But the plan lacked oversight and accountability for the successful bidder, and five years and two contractors later, less than 10,000 acres have been thinned on the western Mogollon Rim.

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Cutting crews sought in effort to stop spread of pine beetles

By Jack Weatherly
Mississippi Business Journal
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday that it is seeking to contract saw crews to fell trees as part of the efforts to control or stop Southern pine beetle infestations that threaten tens of thousands of acres of pine forests in four national forests in Mississippi. Meantime, the Mississippi Forestry Commission said that nearly 250 infestations of the pest have been detected during flyovers on private land in 15 counties that comprise and border national forests. The Forest Service crews include about 50 hand sawyers, who cut the beetle-infested trees with chainsaws to slow or stop the spread of the pests. The Forest Service is looking for both mechanical and hand-cutting crews. Mechanical crews use heavy equipment and are able to cut more timber in a safer manner.

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Thought the emerald ash borer was bad? Meet this lurking menace

By Sarah Bowman
Indy Star
August 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The emerald ash borer is not the only pest Hoosiers need to worry about. Another, arguably more menacing, bug has arborists and entomologists on high alert. The Asian longhorned beetle is closing in from all corners, and officials are doing all they can to keep it out. The invasive species has killed thousands of trees in Chicago and is currently devouring its way through the Cincinnati area, but it has yet to be spotted in Indiana. …Their arrival in Indiana could prove even more deadly than the damage already done by the metallic green ash borer.

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Can the EU’s fight against illegal logging help to preserve forest ecosystems in timber producing nations?

By Ann-Kathrin Beck
Politheor: European Policy Network
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Preserving ecosystems via trade – A long way ahead for the EU’s fight against illegal logging: In 2003 the EU passed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, a path-leading framework to fight illegal logging and deforestation. However, fifteen years later there is still a lot of work to do until EU FLEGT unfolds a positive impact on climate change, forest ecosystems and local communities as intended. In short it is aimed at improving forest governance and the preservation of nature and livelihoods via trade. To do so, multi-stakeholder engagement processes are foreseen for the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA). VPAs are bilateral trade agreements between the EU and timber exporting countries which constitute a crucial element of the Action Plan.

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Tasmanian forestry deal extended

Australian Associated Press in News.com.au
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

An extension of a Tasmanian forestry plan has been hailed by government as a win for the timber industry but environmentalists say it’s a death knell for parts of the state’s pristine forests. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman on Friday visited a Launceston timber mill where they signed off on a 20-year extension to the Regional Forest Agreement. The agreement, which was due to expire this year, allows the logging of native forests on public lands, and gives exemptions to Commonwealth environmental laws. Mr Turnbull spoke to workers on a tour of the plant and said the deal will give security to the industry, which employs some 3,600 people in the state.

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Quarantines in place in Hawai’i to stop tree fungus spread Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand News
August 18, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A Hawai’i-based scientist says strict quarantine procedures have stopped the spread of a disease that kills the state’s native ‘ōhiʻa trees. The fungal disease known as Rapid ‘ōhiʻa Death has affected around 74-thousand acres of ‘ōhi’a forests in the last decade. It can kill a tree in a matter of days. There are fears the disease could spread to similar trees in the Pacific, but an expert working on the problem Lisa Keith told Tim Glasgow there’s no evidence it has spread beyond the island of Hawai’i.

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Forest Fires

Heart-wrenching video pays tribute to wildfire crews

By Jen Zielinski
Pentiction Western News
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A video circling on social media has B.C. residents welling up with tears. The video is a series of photos shot of the Elephant Hill fire line, from both the ground and the air. From clouds of smoke, to raging flames, to personal shots of firefighters on their down time, the video has really touched a nerve with those affected by the B.C. wildfires. The video was shot by several people working with Coldstream helicopters. Bryce N Justine wrote on Facebook; “My entire life was in this forest and on these lakes. All my best memories from my whole life burnt up and mostly destroyed. Every day this fire burns I feel my heart breaking.”

 

 

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B.C. wildfire roundup: latest news, air quality, interactive map, fire danger

Victoria Times Colonist
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The weather forecast calls for a cold front, bringing gusty winds to British Columbia that could inflame wildfires that had been stabilized this week. Special weather and air quality statements [link] were issued for much of the B.C. Interior on Thursday, warning of windy and unsettled weather and poor air quality due to smoke. British Columbia’s wildfires have destroyed a record amount of forest, brush and grassland, surpassing the devastation of nearly 60 years ago. Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service said about 8,944 square kilometres have been scorched by fires, breaking the previous record of 8,550 square kilometres, set in 1958.

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West Fraser Road opened at Rudy Johnson Bridge

Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two more evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts Wednesday by the Cariboo Regional District “Today was a good day for us,” CRD chair Al Richmond told the Tribune. “We managed to get rid of some red on our maps and get some folks home to Anahim and Nimpo Lake and Highway 20 is open to Bella Coola. We’ve also opened up the West Fraser Road from the Rudy Johnson Bridge going north to Quesnel.” The biggest impact to the Anahim and Nimpo Lake areas was the closure of Highway 20, Richmond said.

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Updated: ‘Beast’ of Lolo Peak fire moves east into the Bitterroot

By Rick Cowan
Ravalli Republic
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Lolo Peak firefighters are “trying to take control of the beast out there” but warned Thursday night that they expect more extreme fire activity on Friday. The Lolo Peak fire exploded to 15,090 acres Thursday, after making a four-mile run in the Mormon Creek area overnight. And Stuart Turner, a fire behavior analyst, warned that Friday “is going to be a big weather day.” “We’re going to have a red flag warning, which means there will be extreme conditions that are right for large fire growth,” Turner said at a Thursday night meeting. “That’s why you’re seeing all of these activities and evacuations.” 

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Oregon fires: More than 1000 Sisters residents told to prepare to evacuate

By Allan Brettman
The Oregonian
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

About 1,200 Sisters-area residents have been told to prepare to leave their homes because of a nearby forest fire, officials said Thursday. The Milli Fire, located west of the Deschutes County community, threatens 434 structures. A Level 2 Evacuation notice has been issued for areas south of Highway 242, also known as the McKenzie Highway, and west of the Pole Creek Ditch. The notice means residents in the affected area have been advised to “get set, gather your stuff,” said Rich Hoover, state fire marshal’s office spokesman. “Vehicles should be packed and pointed out the driveway.” Fire officials are especially concerned about the Milli Fire because the fire is burning partially in the fire scar of the 2006 Black Crater Fire.

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Montana wildfire updates for August 17, 2017

NBC Montana
August 17, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana blew up overnight leading law enforcement officers to order the evacuation of up to 400 more homes west of the town of Lolo. * Location: 10 miles southwest of Lolo * Size: 15,090 acres Containment: zero percent * EVACUATION ORDER: for Hwy 93 Lolo Peak Fire, 10:00 PM WED 8/16/17: As of 10:00 PM on Wednesday, August 16th there is an Evacuation ORDER to immediately leave the area per the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Climate change and West Kootenay wildfires

By Greg Utzig – conservation ecologist
Nelson Star
August 17, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Greg Utzig

This is the first in a series of columns addressing various issues related to climate disruption in the West Kootenay. Greg Utzig is a local conservation ecologist who has been working on climate change issues for two decades. Many people are wondering if and how this summer of catastrophic wildfires relates to climate change. Here’s what science has to say. Mike Flannigan, a wildfire specialist from Alberta, points to the four main factors that affect wildfires: forest fuels, human activity, ignition sources and weather. …Projected climate trends for the West Kootenay indicate that forest fuels are getting drier, and that trend will continue. Other indirect impacts of climate change may also contribute to an increase in wildfire impacts. Trees dying due to drought, windstorms, and increased insect and disease attacks all create more dry fuel for fires.

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Forests taking longer to recover from drought due to hotter temperatures, study says

By Emily Guerin
89.3 KPCC
August 17, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Gov. Jerry Brown may have declared the drought emergency over in April, but don’t tell that to California’s plants and trees. According to a new study, not only do the effects of drought on the environment linger after it starts raining, but this “drought recovery” period is lasting longer than ever before, likely because of climate change. Scientists with Woods Hole Research Center, University of Utah and other institutions found that trees often don’t return to their pre-drought growth rates — even after rain and snow return. “Just because the rains come back doesn’t mean the ecosystem is functioning,” said lead author Christopher Schwalm with the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. His new study was published in Nature on August 10. As global temperatures rise because of  climate change, plants and trees will take longer to recover from drought because they can’t store as much water. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Eco-Friendly ‘Plyscrapers’ Are on the Rise. Here’s Why

NBC News
August 17, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Ever since the 10-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago was called the first “skyscraper” in 1885, architects have been striving to create ever-taller buildings. Ten stories quickly became 20, 20 became 50, and on and on. In 2009 the Burj Khalifa in Dubai became the world’s tallest building, with its 154 floors towering above ground level. So why is the mayor of Portland, Oregon, calling a modest 12-story tower set for completion there next year “a true technological and entrepreneurial achievement?” It’s not the affordable housing the building affords, nor its dozens of bike racks or even the roof farm that has Ted Wheeler gushing. It’s that the Framework apartment building will be made almost entirely of wood. Once completed, Framework will be America’s tallest wooden building and its first “plyscraper” — a high-rise building built with panels made of cross-laminated timber (CLT).

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Lawsuits Filed Over Formaldehyde Joists In New Home Construction

By Rick Sallinger
CBS Denver
August 17, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The lawsuits are starting to flow from new homebuyers over a problem with a potentially dangerous chemical that was intended as a safety measure in the houses. A formula was changed in fire retardant placed on joists that support the floor manufactured by Weyerhaeuser, which now contains formaldehyde. People have been forced out of their homes due to the problem others. Now the lawsuits are coming. A television commercial is being run by the Burg Simpson Law Firm announces, “Attention if your home was built in the last year you could be in danger. …Weyerhaeuser issued this statement, “Our top priority is to take care of every homeowner and builder affected by this situation.

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Apartment Fires Are Tied to Cheaper, Wood-Based Construction

By Jon Kamp and Laura Kusisto
The Wall Street Journal in Cetus News
August 17, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Shortly after Independence Day last year, developer Rick Holliday got a call informing him his 105-unit apartment building, under construction in Oakland, Calf., had gone up in flames. Mr. Holliday suspected the fire was sparked by teenagers shooting off fireworks at the crucial point when the structure was fully framed with wood but the sprinkler system wasn’t yet installed. He began a $15 million rebuilding job, again using wood framing to get the project restarted as quickly as possible. This May, at a similar point in the construction, the building burned a second time. Oakland officials determined it was arson. Mr. Holliday plans to rebuild yet again—but this time he is considering using metal studs. The fire was one of many recent ones at wood-framed apartment buildings under construction. Developers often prefer wood over steel because it is quicker to erect and can cut framing costs by at least 10% to 20%.

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APEC members share experience in illegal wood trade control

Vietnam+
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Ho Chi Minh City – An APEC workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 18 with a focus on customs best practices to identify illegal timber and wood products. …Statistics of the International Trade Centre show that global wood and furniture exports respectively reached 127 billion USD and 233 billion USD in 2016, rising by 7.9 percent and 10.8 percent from 2012. Forests in APEC economies account for 53 percent of the world’s forest area. The region also makes up 60 percent of the global timber and wood products output and 80 percent of the global timber and wood products trade. …However, illegal wood trade is now a worrying issue, reportedly accounting for 10-30 percent or 100-300 billion USD of global wood trade each year.

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Wood Recyclers Seek Clarification On Biomass Boiler Fuel Supply

By Darrel Moore
Chartered Institution for Wastes Management
August 18, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The Wood Recyclers’ Association is calling for clarification on exactly what grades of wood are acceptable for small scale RHI biomass boilers, after discovering inconsistencies in guidance to boiler manufacturers and fuel suppliers. …The Environment Agency states only clean grade A wood can be used in non-WID boilers, whilst local authority guidance allows a mix of grade A and in certain circumstances grade B, to be used in non-WID boilers processing less than three tonnes an hour, under something known as a “B Permit”. Although the local authority guidance then refers to a further description of what it means by Grade B, (ie offcuts from board product manufacture), the WRA feels this needs to be explained more clearly.

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