Wood burning stoves have been hitting the headlines recently with many contradictory reports regarding a possible ban.
So, what’s the truth?
Earlier this year, a Clean Air Strategy was published by Michael Gove, which aims to clamp down on all sources of pollution and bring in tougher regulations on household wood burners and fires. The Clean Air Strategy is intended to cut the cost of air pollution to the society by £1 billion a year by 2020 and by £2.5bn a year by 2030.
Although Mayor Sadiq Khan has been widely misquoted, the plan isn’t to ban them and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has also confirmed this. However, the Clean Air Strategy does summarise actions that are to be taken to reduce emissions to create a healthy environment.
If the plans that are set out do go ahead, these are the areas that will affect stove owners or those who are looking to buy one:
The sale of polluting fuels will be limited
The government are planning on forcing legislation that ensures only the most efficient fuels will be on sale. This means that the amount of wet wood on sale will be reduced and people would be encouraged to leave it for 2-years for it to become seasoned, or buy dry seasoned hardwood, which is suitable for burning with few emissions.
Only the ‘cleanest’ stoves on sale
By 2022, the EU has stated that all stoves must be 80% efficient. Any new stoves produced must meet lower energy-usage requirements set out by the European Union.
Smoke Controlled Areas legislation
At the moment, many parts of the UK are Smoke Controlled Areas, which means you ‘can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using exempted applicants’ (Gov.uk). To further tackle the emissions issue, the government plans to create a cohesive national approach, which gives councils more power, allowing them to implement initiatives and legislation where they see fit.
So, what changes should you be aware of now?
As of now, no legislation has come into play and the government is still unclear on how your areas are affected. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce emissions from your wood burning stove, including purchasing wood with 20% or less moisture content - these hardwoods have been identified with the government-backed scheme ‘Ready To Burn’. You’ll find ‘Ready To Burn’ logos on wood that is efficient to burn.