As of April 2022, updates to the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2022 made it a legal requirement to prove biomass heating systems in non-domestic settings have been properly maintained in order to continue receiving RHI payments.

HETAS, the non-profit organisation committed to helping people make cleaner and safer choices in the use of biomass and other solid fuels and associated technologies, is keen to work with installers to help ensure biomass heating owners are compliant with the new rules.

Calvin May, Head of Technical Services at HETAS, said: “There are around 17,000 commercial biomass boilers and appliances that will be required to meet this new legislation. The easiest way for owners to achieve this is to have an annual service from a HETAS accredited engineer listed on the HETAS Approved Biomass Maintenance Scheme as outlined in Part 3, Regulation 40 of the updated Regulations.”

The Approved Biomass Maintenance Scheme was developed to support the MCS Standard for Planned and Preventative Maintenance of Biomass Appliances (MCS 040), introduced in the summer of 2021.

The standard was prepared by the MCS Biomass Maintenance Working Group in consultation with industry. It follows research into the in-situ performance of biomass boilers which identified a 15% difference in performance in-situ, primarily caused by poor fuel, lack of operator knowledge, and lack of boiler maintenance. A key recommendation of the research was that a comprehensive annual boiler service to check the proper operation of the boiler should be encouraged.

May continued: “It’s a positive step towards further reducing damage to air quality that this recommendation has been adapted into legislation, as poorly maintained appliances can emit harmful particulate matter. The Approved Biomass Maintenance Scheme recognises competent maintenance businesses and individuals that can carry out manufacturers’ required appliance maintenance and raise the importance of burning the correct fuel.

"Combining the skills and expertise of these businesses with participants of the RHI scheme can truly make a difference to our environment which is good news for us all.”