Wood burning stove

UK Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 and heating stoves

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)

Broseley snowdon 26 wood burning boiler stove

  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 2019

One 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 strategy

Here 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.
As long as you follow the rules of your local authority and burn the cleanest fuels you should not have any problems with your woodburning, multifuel or other type of stove.

Further reading

HETAS view on UK’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 UK Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 HETAS view on the future of wood burning stoves