HOUSEHOLDERS in the New Forest are turning to wood fuel to escape rising fuel costs.

The Government is expected to expand renewable heat incentives (RHI) to domestic households to promote conversion to wood fuel boilers this summer.

And as part of this scheme, average sized households with biomass boilers or solar thermal panels could receive tariffs worth about £1,400 a year for up to 20 years for the hot water and heat they generate and use themselves.

Liz Rolfs and her husband Bill Peach have been living in their newly built green home, complete with biomass boiler, in the Forest since December 2012.

Mrs Rolfs said: “Our main motivation was environmental. We wanted to generate our own power. We didn’t want to depend on the national grid and be at the mercy of price hikes from the power companies.”

Georgie Watson, from the New Forest Land Advice Service, which is promoting the use of biomass boilers, said: “As fuel prices continue to rise, wood fuel in the New Forest is a real and sustainable alternative. Biomass boilers are a renewable, low carbon energy source and after the initial installation costs are a cheaper alternative to many other fuels.

Chief executive of the New Forest National Park Authority Alison Barnes said: “There is a huge opportunity in the Forest for wood fuel. This has been recognised recently by the Government, highlighting national parks as places we should be piloting this technology.

“This is not only good for the local economy but good for nature as well.”

For advice about installing biomass boilers or producing wood fuel, contact Georgie Watson on 01590 646698 or email