The Wood Supplier Keeping Calm, Carrying on and Urging Woodburning Good Practice

Some of the coldest temperatures in recent winters, heavy snowfalls in parts of the UK and the latest UK lockdown, predicted to last at least until Easter, have not been enough to erode the resilience of one of the UK’s leading suppliers of ready to burn wood, which has kept woodburning customers warm all winter and throughout Covid-19.

The team in the log yard at Logs Direct, close to Lancaster, always rise to the challenge of ensuring Britain’s homeowners have kiln dried wood, ready to use in their homes, so they can keep warm and carry on burning wood in a carbon-neutral way. 

The distinct delivery vans traverse the country, getting wood out to customers and working flat out, whenever temperatures plummet and demand spikes.   That is a seasonal accomplishment, achieved on the basis of many years of experience in handling winter demand.  With many customers unable to store wood in bulk at home, either through lack of space or because they cannot afford to buy in bulk, it only takes a few severe weather reports and news of Arctic temperatures arriving from Siberia, to send the phones into a frenzy.

But this year, there has been the added challenge of coping with an extra layer of difficulty, that of Covid-19.  The Logs Direct team have been key workers of a different kind, getting wood supplies into the hands of those who simply could not have heat without their deliveries arriving on time, every time.

Delivering wood is very different to delivering many other types of parcel or package and it has been essential for the team to ensure customer safety, when unloading what can be large and heavy deliveries of wood.

Whilst the drive to do so and keep the yard running with its usual efficiency has been a completely customer-centric one, there has been another consideration to factor in.  If customers cannot have deliveries of what is emissions-compliant, ready-to-burn wood, and cannot find such wood, carrying the Woodsure logo, in their local stores, the temptation will be to burn any wood that is readily available.  Much of this wood may be unseasoned and full of moisture – the factor that leads to wood fires emitting pollutants that are harmful to health.

“We have literally put every ounce of energy into getting wood out to customers during the pandemic,” says sales director, Stephen Talbot.  “We have invested heavily in our own kilns and other equipment in recent years and this has given us a huge advantage but we have still had to operate under the same social distancing constraints as other businesses and keep the wood flowing through the yard, into boxes and crates and out to customers, no matter what. 

“With the need to prevent the wrong wood being burnt ever top of mind, we have put as much effort as possible into keeping supply chains open and have had to boost our online order handling capacities, because some retail outlets have not been open.   It is hugely important, especially in cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester, that homeowners do not succumb to the temptation to burn ‘wet wood’ – the unseasoned type often found in their gardens or bought at local farm gates and shops.  They need to buy wood with the Woodsure logo, as that is the only type that they can rest-assured is ready to burn.”

Looking for this logo now makes good sense.  The law will ban sales of wood that is not ready to burn from May 1, 2021 if it is sold in a volume of under 2m3.  Other wood, for long-term seasoning, can be bought in larger volumes only, from that date. This change in the law is very much under the radar, but it is something of which woodburner and woodburning homes need to be very aware. 

Logs Direct also stresses that many will live in designated Smoke Control Areas and should be complying with clean air regulations now.

In the meantime, Logs Direct is also helping to keep some of us dreaming of our travels and the tastes of the Mediterranean.  As a major supplier of wood to restaurants that have wood-fired pizza ovens, it has seen that side to its business downsize during Covid-19, other than in one niche – that of mobile pizza and takeaway pizza supply.

When it comes to supplying mobile pizza operators, there has been a big boom in wood sales, with some venues and individuals having invested in a mobile pizza operation, so as to generate sales on a pop-up basis, to residents within a defined local area.

Other venues that had a woodfired oven, or which have been able to buy one quickly, from a supplier like Valoriani UK, with which Logs Direct has a strong working relationship, have been able to make a takeaway service fly.  Getting pizza out of the door fast and with consistency requires great wood, as well as an oven that will retain heat superbly.  Logs Direct’s wood is known for being able to keep an oven up to temperature with aplomb, thanks to its very low moisture content.

All in all, Logs Direct has faced up to the pandemic’s challenges – and those imposed by severe weather – with its usual efficacy, its can-do attitude shining through.  Should summer come early, it’s next challenge could well be that of coping with a boom in home pizza oven ownership – a very possible trend, given the investment that went into outdoors spaces last year and a lockdown that may well continue into the spring months in which Britain has seen some of its best weather, in recent years.

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