Wood chip shortage brings boost to Burnside

A shortage of wood pellets has triggered a surge in demand for a fledgling eco-fuel business.

Billingham-based Nicholson Group set up Burnside Wood Pellets last summer to tap into growing interest in wood burning stoves and biomass boilers.

But a wet autumn in Europe, coupled with hold ups with imports from Ireland and the USA, has led to a shortage of the pellets and an unexpected boost for Burnside.

David Nicholson, managing director of the Nicholson Group, said: “When we set up, we brought in 100 tonnes of pellets into our warehouse and expected that to last us the season through until the spring.

“But the entire stock went in three weeks and although we have a steady supply coming in, it’s going straight back out as soon as it arrives.”

Burnside is the latest venture within the Nicholson Group, which nurtures and builds businesses within the transport and logistics sector.

It operates via an e-commerce platform to supply increasing demand for homes using wood burners, stoves and biomass boilers, as well as customers using the chips as bedding for horses.

A proportion of Nicholson’s 55,000 sq ft warehouse has been given over to Burnside, with the pellets entirely UK grown and sourced from virgin wood meeting environmental and supplier standards.

Mr Nicholson added: “The shortage has been twofold, with the wet autumn meaning poor harvests on the continent while holding up supplies from Ireland and the US. In addition, a lot of stock is being bought up in bulk by the biomass stations meaning the domestic market has been hit.

“But all of our wood chips are entirely sourced from the UK so we have not been as badly affected, although supplies are now dwindling. It has become very successful quickly which is not really what we anticipated although something we have had to adapt to.”

• Pictured (above) is Seb Luder, of The Nicholson Group, inside the firm’s refurbished warehouse.


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