Over the past few months there has been some confusion over a few misleading headlines that suggested that there might be a possible ban on wood stoves in the works. In this post we’ll layout and demystify the government’s future plans for air quality and make clear why there is no log burner ban around the corner.
On the 14th of May 2019, DEFRA, the department of the Environment, Food and Rural affairs, published the latest version of the Clean Air Strategy, a strategy that complements three other UK government plans (Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and 25 Year Environment Plan) and that focuses on the reduction of emissions of harmful pollutants. The strategy clearly outlines much needed measures that will be put into place to help improve air quality, protect nature and boost the economy. So how will this strategy impact wood stoves?
No wood stove ban – What the strategy says
The governments Clean Air Strategy notes that even though emissions from domestic burning and other sources have been significantly reduced since the 1950s, there is still more that can be done, and states that “significant air quality benefits can be realised through new efficient appliances.” The Strategy, the industry and European legislation have all been moving in the same direction - emphasising the need for the use of modern, more efficient appliances, as opposed to traditional open fires and old stoves.
Main Points of the Clean Air Strategy
- Legislation for local government to protect Smoke Control Areas
- Enforce legislation to ensure that open fires and appliances that are not Smoke Control Exempt are not used in Smoke Control Areas.
- Ensuring only the very cleanest stoves are bought and installed
- The new Ecodesign 2022 Emission standards come into effect for all new domestic stoves bought and the use of high quality, low emission stoves will raise the standard of appliances in the UK.
- Ensuring only the cleanest fuels are available for sale
- Phasing out the sale of bituminous house coal or high-sulphur smokeless fuels.
- Assure there is information available to appliance users about correct use of appliances and fuels.
- Enable consumers to understand how to run appliances in order to reduce impact from fuel burning.
The strategy distinguishes three industry initiatives that have been voluntarily put in place by the industry to address air quality.
Woodsure’s Ready to Burn – this initiative is an assurance scheme that is backed by the government. It helps homeowners care for their stove and improve air quality by identifying suppliers that sell high quality wood. Simply using well-seasoned wood can cut emissions by 50%.
Ecodesign Ready Scheme - the Ecodesign ready initiative lets consumers know what stoves are ecodesign emission compliant before the introduction of the regulations in 2022. Stoves that comply to these emission requirements have up to 90% lower emissions than an open fire or an old stove.
Burnright – DEFRA have worked with chimney sweep organisations to develop an informative website that guides users on how to save money and reduce emissions by using their appliances correctly.
Key takeaways –
The Clean Air Strategy aims to pass legislation that will prohibit the sale of coal and specific smokeless fuels.
From the 1st of January of 2022 only, stoves that comply to the Ecodesign emission standards can be sold legally.
High quality fuel and modern stoves drastically reduce emissions while allowing savings due to high efficiency rates. They also preserve the carbon neutral benefits of using wood as a renewable fuel while reducing the impact on air quality.
You kind find out more about the ecodesign 2022 emission standards by reading our blogpost Ecodesign - Your Questions Answered.
Please follow these steps to protect air quality - If you live in a Smoke Control Area ensure that the appliance you are looking to purchase is Smoke Control Exempt. Only purchase well-seasoned fuel from a reputable supplier. Ensure that you are up-to-date on the best wood stove use practises.Recommendations on how to run your stove are included in every Hunter Stove appliance manual.
You can find the full Clean Air Strategy here.