South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine has written to Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse to ask him if for reassurance that specialist wood fuel outlets will be exempted from the coronavirus lockdown.

Her intervention came after she was contacted by the Wood Fuel Co-operative, a family business based in Dumfries. They supply wood pellets for biomass boilers which run central heating and hot water systems. The company are concerned that the lockdown could leave people unable to heat their homes – although Ms McAlpine said she was confident that they came under the essential service category.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

We all need to stay at home and end all social interaction in order to save lives. The Prime Minister and the First Minister spoke with one voice on that for a reason – we need to reduce pressure on our NHS. In off grid areas, the supply of wood fuel is an essential service for homes. So it’s vital that these businesses are excluded from the lockdown. I am confident that they will be recognised as an essential service, but people need clarity.

“Many householders who are off the gas grid can’t afford to buy supplies more often than weekly so the co-op is a lifeline particularly as it is cheaper than other retailers.

“As well as writing to the Energy Minister, I’m hoping to get a question accepted in parliament. Hopefully we can make a convincing case to allow these outlets to keep operating.”