Libin mayor Anne Laffut said the village recently held an additional firewood sale for the first time in response to the energy crisis.
“The demand was so great, people were calling and asking when they could buy wood, saying the regular allocations had run out,” she said.
Although the price of firewood has increased as much as four-fold over the past year, it remains the cheapest form of combustible fuel in Belgium.
Wood processing companies are struggling to keep up with orders.
Bois de Chauffage Belgique’s wood merchant Valentin André said: “We saw a big boom in terms of sales. Demand has gone up but the supplies have remained at the same level. That means we’ve found ourselves with very little stock and we’ve had to increase our prices.”
EUROPEAN RULES ON LOGGING
The demand has grown across Europe. According to the United Nations’ estimates, around a million more tonnes of wood pellets were burned in the EU last year compared to the year before, with consumption expected to grow further.
With the need for firewood growing, logging rules have become more important. While Belgium has strict limits on logging, the rules vary across the EU, and campaigners say authorities are not doing enough to protect the precious resources.
Hungary has relaxed its forest protection rules to offer easier access to firewood, while German authorities have warned of scammers setting up fake online wood shops to exploit consumers.