There is growing concern about clean air which prompted the UK government to launch a consultation on its Clean Air Strategy in May 2018. This has now been completed and the Government released the final document on 14th January 2019 (see UK government Clean air strategy-2019) While the full document covers overall strategy including major issues like emissions from traffic and industry, domestic air pollution is covered, in particular emissions from heating stoves see our earlier blog post here Government consultation may affect older wood burning stoves. There have been some scare stories in the media regarding a possible ban on wood burning stoves but these are just that and there is no proposed ban. However pollution will be more tightly controlled which means cleaner burning fuels and more efficient heating stoves in the future.
Aims of the Clean Air Strategy 2019One of the aims of the strategy is to raise awareness of the breadth of everyday activities that contribute to air pollution. Open fires and wood burning stoves are increasingly popular. Not all forms of domestic burning are equally polluting. How appliances are used, installed and maintained along with what fuels are used can all make a big difference to how much pollution is produced.
using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference
Key actions from the clean air strategyHere are the main points that affect heating stoves:
- Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels – Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme has been launched which now has a large number of accredited suppliers committed to the scheme and HETAS is updating its list of Approved smokeless fuels to meet future legislation requirements.
- Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022 – By 2022 HETAS will only accept Ecodesign compliant stoves. HETAS also works with the SIA to list Ecodesign Ready Stoves on the website.
- Make changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce – It’s recogniseds that enforcement can be challenging so any developments made through the Environment Bill will be welcome. Dealing with polluters is an important step in improving air quality.
- Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution.
- Work across government to look at opportunities to align work on air quality, clean growth and fuel poverty in future policy design – Defra has an important role in working with key industry organisations like HETAS, Woodsure, the Stove Industry Alliance and chimney sweeping organisations.
- Develop a dedicated communications campaign targeted at domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental impact of their actions.
- Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market – Again, both HETAS and Woodsure are playing a key role in these developments. For now, ensure you check the HETAS approved fuels list for solid mineral fuels, Woodsure for woodfuels along with the manufacturer’s instructions for specific advice on what to burn.
Further readingHETAS view on UK’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 UK Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 HETAS view on the future of wood burning stoves
Buying a woodburning stove is not usually an impulse buy. You need to have a reasonable idea of where it could go and what is needed to keep it working efficiently. We’ll cover maintenance in a future blog post but this blog post will focus on the initial steps in considering buying a woodburning stove. As a heat source for your home it’s a cozy and efficient way of heating a house. It also does not necessarily need much extra work for maintenance but there are some jobs that need doing regularly.
Installing a woodburning stove – you need a HETAS qualified installerYou may already have heard of the governing body for Gas Engineers, Gas Safe. The equivalent governing body for solid fuel installers is HETAS – Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme. So that means that if your stove is installed by a non-HETAS registered installer then it still has to be signed off by a HETAS registered installer. In fact all solid fuel installations, including wood burning stoves, must be signed off by a HETAS (or equivalent competent persons scheme) registered installer. As we at Complete Stoves are HETAS registered installers we are able to ‘self-certify’ and notify your local authority that the works have been completed in a safe and compliant manner without the need for them to inspect.
First stages in preparing and installing a woodburning stoveFirstly can you use an existing chimney breast? If you can then it will need to be swept and lined for a solid fuel stove. This helps burn fuel efficiently helping cut running costs but it also protecting against Carbon Monoxide which can harm or even kill if allowed to build-up due to inefficient burning and removal of flue gases. Here’s an installation where we used an existing chimney breast. Here’s the final installation of the woodburning stove having rebuilt the chimney: See this link for more information about the dangers of carbon monoxide – https://www.woodburningstoves.com/blog/wood-burning-stoves-and-risk-carbon-monoxide-poisoning If you haven’t got a suitable chimney breast then a twin wall chimney can be installed and routed either internally to hide it or turned into a feature. See the ACR Neo 1P for a woodburning stove that can stand alone. https://www.completestoves.co.uk/shop/brands/acr-stoves/acr-neo-1p-multifuel-woodburning-stove-free-gifts-stove-copy/
Checking if you live in a smoke control area?Under the Clean Air Act local authorities may declare the whole or part of their district to be a smoke control area. If you live in a smoke control area you cannot burn wood unless you are using a DEFRA exempt appliance burn an authorised fuel such as these:
- low volatile steam coal
- See the smoke control zones for Northampton here: https://www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200075/pollution/1085/smoke-control-areas
- See the smoke control areas in Rugby here: https://www.rugby.gov.uk/directory/43/smoke_control_area
- See the smoke control areas for Leicester Coity Council here: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-environment/pollution-and-pests/pollution-control/smoke-control-area/