Expats accustomed to sitting out a cold French winter in front of their wood burner, face large increases in their fuel bill this year.
A recent report showed that wood prices shot up by as much as 50% in 2005, in large measure because of the increasing use of wood burners in homes, the sales of which were up 43% over 2004. There has also been a growth in international demand for French timber, particularly from China and for homes constructed from wood. The price of logs varies widely across the country, but a price of up to €100 per cubic metre is now commonplace in some parts of the country. A year ago, you might have expected to have paid €60-€70 per cubic metre. Nevertheless, wood continues to be competitive against the price of other fuels, and certainly more eco friendly. France is also a country that has a plentiful supply of wood. Over 27% of the country is classified as forest and the total land area under forestation has increased over the past decade, despite the best efforts of forest fires and storms to cut them down.