As new air quality regulations come into force, homeowners will need even more help from installers and heating professionals to understand how to use wood and solid fuel burning appliances in a safe, efficient and environmentally-responsible way to comply with the new rules, highlights a new survey by HETAS.

From 1 May 2021, the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 will ban the sale of wet wood and house coal and provide minimum standards for wood fuel and manufactured solid fuels which are certified under Defra’s Ready to Burn scheme. The Ready to Burn scheme aims to help consumers easily identify wood or manufactured solid fuels that are best for burning at home, minimising the impact of burning on health and the environment.

A new survey of 2,000 people undertaken by HETAS revealed that almost a third (31%) of respondents have an open fire, woodburning, or solid fuel stove in their home, and a further 12% of those surveyed said they would like to have one. The results show that there are a significant number of people likely to be affected by the new regulations and HETAS is working with its registered professionals to help them get the message across to their customers.

Bruce Allen, Chief Executive of HETAS, said: “Ensuring customers know how to use and maintain an appliance and which fuel is best to use has never been more important. Our survey found that 26% of respondents had inherited their fireplace when they moved into a property, and others may not have had appliances installed by a competent person. This reveals that there are many regular users who would benefit from the knowledge and advice given by HETAS registered installers, service and maintenance engineers, and chimney sweeps.

“The incoming legislation and the Ready to Burn scheme are geared towards ensuring people burn better by being able to easily identify the cleanest fuels to use in their home. Those on the frontline play a critical role in ensuring people understand the benefits of using modern heating appliances with the right fuel to minimise the impact that domestic burning has on the environment and our health.

“We believe that the additional backing and enforcement of the new air quality regulations to use cleaner fuel, along with raising awareness of using modern clean low emissions appliances, will make a huge difference to the environmentally responsible use of solid fuels and wood for stoves and boilers. The Ready to Burn scheme is a significant step to reducing harmful particulate emissions and improving air quality.”

HETAS, the non-profit industry organisation supporting cleaner and safer choices for the use of biomass and other solid fuels, appliances and associated technologies, is running the Ready to Burn certification scheme for Manufactured Solid Fuels (MSF) as appointed by Defra to meet regulations that come into force in England from 1 May 2021.

The legislation defines MSF as a fuel manufactured from coal, wood, plant-derived materials, waxes, or petroleum products with other ingredients. All fuels that fall under the description of MSF must comply with the standards set by the regulations and so must be verified as emitting less than 5 g/h of smoke emission as tested against BS 3841-1, and be proven to have a sulphur content of no more than 2% (dry ash free basis).

Only those MSFs with verified emissions and sulphur content are legal for sale in England from 1 May 2021. Authorised fuels will be certified by HETAS to carry the Ready to Burn certification mark and be included on the list of authorised fuels for England by the Secretary of State on
The Ready to Burn mark is also applied to wood fuel certified by Woodsure, a subsidiary of HETAS. From 1 May 2021, the new Air Quality regulations state that wood sold in volumes of up to 2m3 will need to be Ready to Burn certified with a proven moisture content of 20% or less. Suppliers selling quantities of wood over 2m3 will need to provide their customers with advice on how to store and season the fuel so that is it dry to burn.