HETAS welcomes new law on solid fuels

HETAS has welcomed the government’s publication of draft regulations for the Air Quality Domestic Solid Fuels Standards in England.

Draft legislation, which now passes to the Houses of Parliament for debate and amendment, will phase out the supply of house coal and smaller volumes of wet wood.

Bruce Allen, chief executive of HETAS, said: “This legislation marks a really significant step in supporting cleaner and safer choices for the use of biomass and other solid fuels. By phasing out the fuels that are known to emit high levels of particulates damaging to health and the environment, in favour of safer and cleaner biomass and other solid fuels, the industry can help customers to reduce pollution and maximise heat efficiency. This is something that HETAS and our colleagues in Woodsure have been working towards for many years.”

The new legislation, once approved, will come into force from 1 May 2021, phasing out traditional house coal for domestic combustion, wet wood sold in units of up to 2m3 and introduce sulphur and smoke emission limits for manufactured solid fuels.

It is proposed that these changes will be phased in between 2021 and 2023, with all sales of small volumes of wet wood being phased out by 2022 and sales of traditional house coal by 2023.

“The government is clear that it is not banning wood burning stoves. Instead, these new regulations mean that customers purchasing smaller quantities of wood – whether for their stoves as supplementary heating in winter, or for outdoor cooking and dining in summer – will only be sold dry wood with no more than than 20% moisture content, clearly labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’. Those purchasing woodfuel in larger volumes will receive guidance on how to dry the wood before burning,” added Bruce.

For the past four years HETAS has worked with colleagues from Woodsure to run the UK’s only woodfuel quality assurance scheme, making it easier for people to find less polluting dry wood from retailers.