17/01/2008

Fermanagh Timber Processor's Renewable Energy Policy Praised

One of the largest sawmills in the British Isles, Balcas Timber Ltd near Enniskillen, has been praised for being at the 'cutting edge' of the development of renewable energy processes.

NI Assembly Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew, who visited the company this week, said: "What I have seen today is very impressive. The integrated use of forest products by Balcas is the result of closer and innovative partnerships between Government and industry.

"This underpins what we in DARD are doing to improve the economics of the Forestry Sector and Sustainable Rural Development.

"Balcas is clearly at the forefront of generating renewable energy using wood fibre from forests as a fuel to produce electricity for industrial consumption and wood pellets for domestic use.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to remind farmers and landowners of the long term Forest Policy aim to double the local forest area to 150,000ha by 2050, and the important role that private landowners have in achieving this objective," she said.

The Minister was introduced to the Balcas senior management team and toured their log processing facility, combined heat and power plant and wood pellet production plant.

Balcas was established in Enniskillen in 1962 and is the largest sawmill in Ireland, and the third largest in the British Isles. Current turnover is over £80million.

The company is involved in three distinct activities; sawmilling, MDF (Medium Density Fibre) mouldings and production of wood pellets. It employs a total of 536 people at its manufacturing sites.

(GK)

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