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April 2015 by Virginia Harvey

We often get the urge to shout out about something that we find quite inspirational. People or organisations whose good practices and positive actions encourage sustainable growth. For this reason, the social enterprise, TreeStation has caught our eye recently. TreeStation take locally sourced, unwanted timber and convert it into woodfuels and other useful products for the local market. Their aim is to make the best possible use of our local timber resource, aiming to keep Manchester wood in Manchester, to heat Manchester houses and make furniture for Manchester people (with the wider aim of creating a model for the UK generally).

Set up in 2008, Greater Manchester TreeStation was one of the first tree stations to be established in the UK, and the very first in the North West. As an urban tree station, it acts as a hub for a broad range of wood-related activities, such as woodland management operations, arboricultural work, consultancy and training opportunities.  It also provides a local, unique and innovative green solution to wood waste for the Manchester area, and produces a range of quality wood products for the local market. Currently, most wood from trees in Greater Manchester is chipped and sent to power stations or composted, while at the same time vast amounts of firewood, biomass woodchip and sawn timber are imported from all over the world. Chipping for power stations is hugely wasteful because:

  1. Wet chip does not burn well and there are massive losses in energy conversion
    2. Transporting heavy wet chip hundreds of miles is a waste of diesel

Additionally, composting woodchip, if just left to rot, produces methane – a powerful greenhouse gas.

TreeStation works hard to direct Greater Manchester’s wood away from these destinations, and into the hands of good-old North-West citizens as beautiful furniture, biofuel, or everything in between. And for all of that and more, we applaude this environmentally friendly organisation and we hope their story encourages others.

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