Blackbark’s Firebox scheme: locally sourced seasoned firewood

BlackBarkBlackbark are a worker co-op of 4 people, soon to be 5. Our legal structure is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) which is a partnership of self employed people. We are spread between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. We sell locally sourced firewood and charcoal from previously un-managed woodlands with a view to establishing coppice cycles.

Our projects

Blackbark are interested in bringing Calderdale’s neglected woodlands into active and productive management.  We aim to establish coppice rotations producing high quality wood, but as most of the woods we have access to have not been managed for many years the quality of the wood is low, however it makes perfectly good firewood. We set up the Firebox scheme to help meet the costs of producing firewood. Customers join the scheme and pay for their firewood in advance, securing a supply of seasoned wood and supporting local woodland management by supporting our new enterprise. A lot of the woods we managed are owned by Calderdale Council, with whom we are trying to negotiate long term contracts.

Successes and savings

Firebox has been reasonably successful. Almost all of our first year customers have been very happy with the quantity and quality of our wood and have returned for the second year. This year we have much more wood for sale and we are expanding into timber sales and green wood work products and courses. Our volunteer scheme has been brilliant, gaining us valuable help and our volunteers experience of practical woodland work. This year we introduced a sliding price scale to enable people with different incomes to support our project however they can.

We haven’t really thought about our project in terms of carbon savings. Obviously sourcing fuel from local renewable sources makes sense, but quantising savings is very abstract and open to abuse. We don’t agree with the politics of carbon trading and carbon offsetting.

Difficulties

We’ve put a lot of hard physical labour into the job but on the whole things have gone fairly smoothly. At present we’re still not getting the sort of legal contracts we’d like from the Council, but Countryside Services department have been very supportive, understanding and practically helpful. We’re also struggling to find a new yard for wood storage, as we are out growing the one we currently use.

Contact

firebox@blackbark.co.uk for firewood, or contact@blackbark.co.uk for more general enquiries.

Links

blackbark.co.uk