Coppice Resources - Experience Growth
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Meet the team


Fred Walter Director

 Fred’s family have farmed in Nottinghamshire for the past 90 years with their current farming activities covering an area of 1,200ha, primarily arable (cereals, potatoes, sugar beet and SRC) but also with 600 sheep on reclaimed sand and gravel land. Fred has worked on the farm since leaving school and now manages it alongside his father and brother. He also carries out grain storage and processing and land restoration work. Fred first established SRC on his farm in 1996, one of the first commercial plantations in the UK. He also assisted in the establishment and management of 700ha of the SRC grown for the Arbre power plant in North Yorkshire. As part of this work he developed specialist equipment to improve crop establishment including inter-row sprayers, cultivators and cutback machinery. With Chris Mell he worked on the Swedish bundler, during its first and only period of harvesting in the UK, to try and improve it for use with UK coppice. This experience encouraged Fred and Chris to develop the UK’s first dedicated small-scale SRC harvester which in turn led them to design and build the CRL chipper harvester, the second generation of which is now used regularly by CRL. With CRL Fred provides contract services and consultancy to SRC growers and has been involved in a number of research contracts funded by the DTI relating to SRC agronomy and machinery development. He has also been involved, by either contracting or providing advice and management, with up to 80% of the UK’s current commercial SRC plantations. Fred has 12 year’s practical experience of planting, managing and harvesting commercial SRC and also developing markets for its energy end-use.

Chris Mell Director


Chris studied Agricultural Engineering before joining the family livestock farming business in Nottinghamshire. Due to his interest in engineering Chris developed this side of the business concentrating initially on agricultural machinery but then expanding into heavy plant fabrication and repairs and then into the onshore oil industry. With the latter he has worked for both small contractors and the largest oil companies including BP, Shell and Amoco. Chris has also been involved with the supply and servicing of gas engine driven pumps and generators, utilising the waste gas from on-site processing, which led to his interest in alternative energy supply. Working with Fred Walter in the 1990s he started to work on specialist SRC equipment, both modifying and improving the efficiency of existing equipment whilst also developing and building new dedicated machinery aimed at simplifying establishment operations and increasing overall productivity. With R&D funding from the DTI, Chris and CRL developed the UK’s first dedicated small-scale SRC header in the late 90s and since then he has been responsible for the design, construction and ongoing development of the CRL large-scale direct chipper harvesters, now being built for export. Chris continues to design and upgrade CRL’s range of SRC equipment and also ensures that it is in good working order ready for each season’s work.

Barbara Hilton Independent adviser


Following three years postgraduate research, Barbara worked as a Biologist within the Water Industry in the South West region and then in Yorkshire for over ten years, covering all aspects of aquatic biology related to river water quality, potable and wastewater treatment and wetland treatment systems. Whilst with Yorkshire Water (YW) she began research in 1992 on the use of SRC as an outlet for the application of treated sewage sludge and also its potential use as a commercial energy crop. Following these successful trials, in 1995 she began recruiting farmers to grow the UK's first commercial scale SRC (both willow and poplar) for energy. Barbara was with Arbre Energy (owned by YW) from its inception, set up the Fuel Supply Team and, as the Energy Crops Development Manager was responsible for recruiting, establishing and managing 1,250ha (90% of the SRC required) for the Arbre plant, 85% of the UK's commercial SRC crop at that time. Trials were undertaken using a variety of planting and harvesting machinery as well as sludge application methodology. She has extensive experience in all aspects of SRC agronomy, management and harvesting, has led a number of Government and industry funded research projects into various aspects of the crop and also wrote the LANTRA training guidelines for SRC. Following Arbre, Barbara worked for ADAS on further R&D projects related to SRC, wrote the Best Practice Guidelines for Growing SRC on behalf of Defra and also wrote feasibility studies for utilities, power generators, local authorities, etc related to the use of biomass energy, biofuels and energy crops.

Barbara has been a Chartered Biologist and Member of the Institute of Biology since 1987.  Tel: 07811 367845


Mark Paulson

Mark started work on the family arable farm in Lincolnshire prior to studying Rural Resource Management at Reading University.  After university he became Area Sales Manager for Farmplan with responsibility for the east of England advising farm businesses on IT issues and sales opportunities.  He moved on to work as an agronomist with Farmacy plc, part of the Brown Butlin Group, where he was responsible for the management of over 7,000ha of arable cropping in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.  This work included provision of advice on all arable inputs, farm management, finance, crop assurance schemes and environmental policy.  Mark was a member of the Farmacy Chemical Trials Management Team with particular responsibility for interpretation and presentation of trial results.  During this period Mark also achieved qualifications in BASIS, FACTS and AMTRA, attended a FWAG course on assessing habitat management and became a LANTRA registered training instructor.

Whilst with Farmacy Mark provided agronomic advice for much of the commercial SRC grown on behalf of Arbre Energy.


With CRL Mark is responsible for the management and development of the company within the guidelines and strategy set by the Board of Directors.  He specifically identifies and develops new market opportunities for all of CRL’s activities and services.

Jane Turner Finance


Jane is an ex-high street bank manager who held specific responsibility for agricultural businesses and now provides accounting and administrative services to a number of former clients and local agri-businesses of which CRL is one.



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