France’s Assemblée nationale has voted in favour of a new support package worth €230million for people who use wood to heat their homes.
This will help such households to at least partially fund their wood pellet or log purchases amid rising prices. Wood pellets, for example, have grown more than twice as expensive in the last year because the cost of production has increased by 25-35%.
Estimates from the Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (Ademe) suggest that three million people in France heat their homes with wood.
It is not yet known whether the aid will benefit all of these people - or just a proportion - and how people will apply.
The support is expected to take a similar form to the government aids for people who use heating oil, which are means-tested and come as a €100 or €200 cheque depending on the household income.
If this aid is exactly like heating oil support, recipients will also be able to use it in conjunction with the chèque énergie energy cheques which are usually issued in the spring.
A one-off energy cheque is also being issued to 12 million lower-income households in December, to help people manage their bills.
The bill containing the wood fuel cost support package must now be examined by the Senate before it becomes law. It was passed almost unanimously by MPs.