HETAS Offers Advice On Solid Fuel Burning For A Cleaner Environment

HETAS Offers Advice On Solid Fuel Burning For A Cleaner Environment

With the continuing focus on climate change and air pollution remaining high on the government’s agenda, stove owners are awakening to the impact their solid fuel burning can have on the air we all breathe. Installers will be faced with more questions regarding what homeowners are legally allowed to burn, as, for many, solid fuel appliances will be the only option to heat their homes.

The new ‘Emissions for air pollutants in the UK’ report, published in February, focused heavily on the negative impact attributed to an increase in burning wood for fuel. The report concluded that there has been a 124% increase from 2011 to 2021 in the use of wood for fuel, along with a decrease in the use of coal for domestic heating.

HETAS and Woodsure, leading biomass and solid fuel heating organisations, work closely with Defra to provide evidence-based advice to improve air quality in the UK. While it’s disappointing to see solid fuel receiving negative coverage, it’s not surprising in light of the amount of homeowners who have been switching to solid fuel as an alternative way to heat their homes. For the heating sector, the takeaway from the publication is the government citing education as a key focus area for the coming next year.

Quelling some of the recent coverage on the future of wood burners, conclusions made in the Environmental Improvement Plan (published in January) confirm that domestic burning in England will not be banned. This is a helpful clarification, especially for the countless households without an alternative means of heating at this current time.

CEO of HETAS and Woodsure, Bruce Allen comments: We are keeping our focus on helping people make cleaner and safer choices, through equipping manufacturers and installers with the knowledge needed to successfully reassure consumers. For this reason, we are delighted to see the government encouraging this educational focus as well. “To aid people in choosing better and less harmful appliances, we launched the HETAS Cleaner Choice scheme last year. The scheme sets a lower maximum emission level for particulates than the strictest legislation, such as the rules in smoke control areas. To be certified, stoves must meet current requirements, as well as achieve at least a 50% improvement on current particulate limits. This scheme is open to all manufacturers, allowing them to offer customers peace of mind that they are making strides towards better air quality.

“Through the scheme, we aim to help manufacturers easily make the move away from the sale of higher polluting appliances and technologies (such as open fires) and to provide appliances with lower emissions alongside comprehensive education and guidance to consumers on the best practice operating techniques for cleaner burning”.

“In recent months, we have welcomed local authorities being given more power to issue fines for unsafe burning practices in Smoke Control Areas. Any fuel that is sold as part of the Ready to Burn scheme is certified as having a moisture content of up to 20% and so will emit less harmful emissions when burnt. Retailers can be confident in reassuring customers that they are choosing the best fuel for them with ease by looking out for the Ready to Burn logo. Manufacturers and retailers must stay aware of new legislation changes to keep ahead of potential customer concerns that may arise, and HETAS aims to further promote this knowledge.

“Solid fuel burning is often painted as the villain of the piece when it comes to air quality but we want to reassure manufacturers, installers and consumers that it doesn’t necessarily need to be. By choosing the right appliance, combined with the right Ready to Burn fuel, the emissions attributed to solid fuel burning can be dramatically reduced.”