As we promised in our previous article on the topic, we’re giving you an update on the possibility of a UK-wide wood fuel shortage in the winter of 2021-2022.
The effects of labour shortages, the fuel crisis, and rampant inflation ended up hurting the UK economy much more than we could have anticipated. Worker shortages and transportation disruptions continue to negatively affect most UK businesses.
The labour shortage continues to have a negative effect on the economy. British farmers have suffered by far the most due to this. The absence of inexpensive labour from abroad has nearly crippled the farming industry, leading to unprecedented amounts of food waste and livestock culling.
To avoid food shortages during the Christmas season, the UK government has introduced a special short-term work visa program to import 5,000 foreign truck drivers and 5,500 poultry workers for a period of three months. The visas of these workers will last until December 24.
But what is the situation in the wood fuel industry? Does the UK have enough wood fuel stock to last throughout the entire heating season? Will the increased manufacturing and transportation costs caused by the fuel crisis further increase the price of Ready to Burn wood fuel in the UK?
Is the Wood Fuel Industry Impacted by Worker Shortages?
A lack of labour in the manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery sectors has made producing and selling wood fuel in the UK more challenging than ever before.
We can’t speak for our competitors, but we at Lekto have managed to deal with these difficulties in such a way that we do not anticipate any major disruptions in our manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery systems.
The operation of our main warehouse, in particular, has been optimised to never-before-seen levels of efficiency and can now process a lot more orders than it could last year. So we should be all good this year, at least as long as demand stays at a manageable level.
Record-Breaking Demand For Wood Fuel
This is where the good news possibly ends. According to projections based on the data from the previous years and the number of orders we've received so far, the UK wood fuel industry may have its busiest year in decades.
The main culprit of this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the fuel crisis.
A couple of months ago we must’ve reached a tipping point where buying a wood burner and having it professionally installed ended up being cheaper for many people than continuing to rely on gas or electric heat.
This unexpected influx of these new buyers has overwhelmed many major wood fuel suppliers and while we have managed to fare the storm so far, the situation doesn't look too good if the graphs continue trending upward.
So if the influx we already experienced represents the majority of first-time user demand, then it will be smooth sailing for the industry from here on out. But if even more new users turn to wood fuels during the heating season, fulfilling all of this additional demand will be tricky, to say the least.
How to Sidestep Fuel Shortages and Delivery Delays?
While you as a consumer cannot control the demand spike that may eventually cause stock shortages, you can make sure that these shortages do not affect you in any way.
So the smartest thing to do right now would be to stock up on as much wood fuel as you can store.
This way, you personally won't have to worry about running out of fuel during the heating season.
Stocking Up Options For Limited Space Scenarios
If storage space is limited, we recommend stocking up on high-quality wood briquettes.
They are compressed to the absolute limits of the wood fibres they’re made of and come in Lekto’s signature space-efficient, easy-to-store packaging. Popular options include our ultra-hot burning Hardwood Heat Logs and our long-lasting Night Briquettes, or economical Sawdust Briquettes.
High Quality Ready to Burn Firewood
Our extra-low-moisture, Ready to Burn options weigh less, burn hotter, and last longer than traditional firewood.