2015 Speakers

Here are the speakers from the 2015 National Wood Fuel Conference in the order they appeared one the day. You can download each speaker’s presentation using the links below.

Dougal Driver FICFor FRICS CEnv APMG – Chief Executive of Grown in Britain

Dougal Is Chief Executive of Grown in Britain which is an exciting new organisation that is driving the use of homegrown timber and increasing societies connection to forests and the wood prod-ucts they produce. The National Wood Fuel Conference is a feature in the annual ‘Grown in Britain Week’.

He holds a number of other directorships in the sector and wider business and he sits on a number of national strategic bodies including the Natural Capital Committee and the Society for the Environment Council.

Dougal’s skills have been honed in both the public and private sectors with senior roles in the the MoD, Defra, Cabinet Office and Confor. He can also be seen amongst the fastest boats on the planet through his role as an environmental advisor to the world of powerboat racing.

Dougal is an experienced communicator and is a sought after facilitator and Chairman.



Chris Miles – Senior Advisor, Renewable Energy Association (REA), Managing Director CM Energy Ltd

Read Chris Miles’ presentation.

Chris Miles reviewed how government policy has developed the biomass heating sector to date and how the current political climate may impact future development. He proposed a pragmatic policy framework for renewable and low carbon heat with the objective of building a sustainable long term future.

Chris set up CM Energy in 2014 to assist global and emerging companies in the sustainable energy sector. He bought into Econergy a leading UK biomass heat supplier in 2006 and led the sale of Econergy to British Gas (BG) in 2011. He merged Econergy and an acquired heat pump business into the BG Renewable Heat business and grew this 4 times to 2014, with a major expansion into district heating. He was a member of the BG Leadership Team, which directed £400m+ pa of spend under the Energy Company Obligation and their Energy Efficiency business. He was a board member of the REA from 2006 to 2014 and chair of their Onsite Energy Group. He holds an MA (Engineering), University of Cambridge and MBA (distinction), INSEAD.



Alison Field, SE Director, Forestry Commission

Read Alison Field’s presentation.

Alison is a Chartered Forester and Forestry graduate from Bangor University. She has spent her career working mostly in southern England as a Forestry agent/contractor in the private sector, managing operations on the Public Forest Estate and latterly as an Area Director with Forest Services both in the southwest and southeast of England.

For nearly 10 years Alison specialised in fundraising, developing projects for the Public Forest Estate and forest sector, winning some £20 – £30 million for forest conservation, recreation and woodfuel programmes. As Head of a small Forestry Commission Development Group she supported colleagues in the administration of programmes worth over £250 million.



Simon Woodward – Chairman of UK District Energy Association

Read Simon Woodward’s presentation.

Simon’s presentation provided an overview of district energy in the UK and focused on why it has not, to date, played a major role in the provision of energy supplies across the UK. It then looked at what is changing now, what needs to happen to increase market penetration and what major changes are expected in the next five years.

Simon is a passionate and prolific developer of district energy schemes in the UK. He has been responsible for the schemes in Southampton, Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry and spent four years working on the Olympic Park Scheme. He was Chief Executive of Cofely District Energy for over 20 years and since 2014 has been working as an independent consultant. Throughout this time he has been instrumental in the conception and growth of the UKDEA.



Bill Mills – Chairman, Highfield School, Surrey

Read Bill Mill’s presentation.

Bill Mills’ presentation covered his experience of planning, installing and operating a wood-chip burning heating system at Highfield and Brookham Schools.

Bill Mills has had a life-long interest in education and is currently Chief Executive of Explore Learning, which he founded in 2001. Explore Learning operates children’s learning centres in the UK and Texas. He is also Chairman and owner of Highfield and Brookham Schools. Highfield was founded by Bill’s grandfather in 1907 and is a co-ed, day and boarding, prep school with 290 children, while Brookham was founded by Bill in 1992 and is a co-ed pre-prep with 200 children.



Felix Ertl, Director of Sales, Entrade

Read Felix Ertl’s presentation.

Felix Ertl’s presentation described the development of the smallest biomass CHP plant. It focused on the feedstock addressing why the machine runs on pellets and what other types of feedstocks are suitable. The presentation provided a case for pellets to be used as a replacement for oil as a fuel source.

Felix Ertl is an experienced sustainable energy entrepreneur with 6 years’ experience in wood gasification. He holds a MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining Entrade, Felix has run his own business installing and operating biomass CHP plants in East Africa. He has also worked in a leading position at a municipal energy provider in Stuttgart, which is solely generating and providing renewable energy. Felix is the sales director of Entrade. He has structured the entry of Entrade into the UK market.



Ian Tubby – Principal Adviser for Business & Markets, Forestry Commission

Read Ian Tubby’s presentation.

Ian Tubby’s presentation highlighted issues such as resource availability, growth rates and carbon stocks associated with the UK’s forest resource and demonstrated why felling more trees is an important element of protecting and improving our woodlands in the long term.

Ian has been involved in bioenergy research and policy development for around 20 years. He spent around 15 years with Forest Research at Alice Holt where he led a research programme on woodfuel and he currently works for Forestry Commission England where he is Principal Advisor on Business and Markets. He continues to work in the bioenergy field and is particularly interested in how energy markets can help improve the quality of currently unmanaged woodlands in England. When he is not working on these issues he contributes to Grown in Britain which he helped establish in 2013.



Robin Edwards – South East Regional Director at the CLA

Read Robin Edward’s presentation.

Robin Edwards is South East Regional Director at the CLA, representing, assisting and advising members across the region at a local, regional and national level. He is a rural practice Chartered Surveyor with a wealth of experience including rural policy, land management, renewables and tourism. Before joining the CLA in 2012, Robin held a wide-ranging role at Hampshire County Council, as the Estate Manager managing 7,000 acres of farmland and 11,000 acres of countryside sites together with all of the County’s office and commercial estate. His career also includes work for the Ministry of Defence and Defence Estates.



Niel Nicholson – Director of Nicholsons

Read Niel Nicholson’s presentation.

The South East contains many areas of woodland which are currently under managed. With the private sector made up of lots of small companies with ageing staff, and a potential increased market for Woodfuel, there should be an opportunity to develop a stronger private sector – the challenge is how to do this and bring not only new blood in but to bring the sector together. Neil Nicholson’s presentation tackled these issues.

Niel is Director of his family company “Nicholsons” which he runs with his wife Liz. Trained in Forestry at Edinburgh University, he started out work with Tilhill Forestry and the Forestry Commission. Nicholsons covers all aspects of Forestry, Plants and Landscaping. Nicholsons were winners of the Cherwell Established Business of the Year 2014, and finalists in the Oxfordshire Large Business of the Year 2014. The Forestry department has 4 professional foresters offering consultancy, duty of care surveys, management plans, and full contracting services. Niel is passionate about renewables and has installed a mini district heating system using waste wood in the chip fired boiler installed in 2013, as well as a 50kwP PV array.

Niel is also Chair of the Oxfordshire Woodfuel Programme, part of TOE2 (Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment) and is currently actively involved in the Oxfordshire Forestry Accord – bringing all the various bodies with woodland interests together.



Nicola Percival, Policy Manager, Non-Domestic RHI, Ofgem

Read Nicola Percival’s presentation.

Nicola Percival’s presentation focused on the sustainability requirements of the RHI, Domestic RHI and RO schemes which Ofgem E-Serve administer on behalf of DECC. It covered how to comply with these requirements on each of the three schemes, their differences and similarities.

Nicola is the Policy Manager for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, working with industry and DECC to implement the scheme effectively. She initially joined Ofgem in January 2014 as a member of the Technical team. She has experience with the more complex technologies of biogas and biomethane on the RHI as well as being the scheme specialist for air quality and biomass emissions.

Prior to joining Ofgem she held a role in a Facilities Management company where she project managed their MCS accreditation. She has an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from the National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool & Southampton, in Oceanography focusing on climate change science.



Mark Lebus, CEO, LC Energy

Mark is the founder, managing director and co-owner of LC Energy Ltd with over six years of biomass industry experience having previously had commercial and project management roles in the city and sports industries.

Mark has a wide range of commercial and practical experience in project management, civil engineering and contracting with particular knowledge of building low risk supply chains and has developed his woodland based industry into the largest renewable energy business in the region, including supplying the new Energy Centre at Heathrow Airport and the new Center Parcs at Woburn Forest.

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