In February this year, the government announced that it would be introducing a ban on the sale of wet wood and house coal from February 2021, as part of its Environment Bill.
Of course, this led to a number of people, fuelled (pardon the pun) by the media, leaping to the conclusion that they could no longer use their wood burning stoves. The days of cosying up in front of a real flame gone for good. But this simply isn’t true. So, we thought we’d put the record straight. After all, wood-burning stoves remain a popular choice here at Burning Desires.
Why has the ban been introduced?
In a nutshell, sales of the two most polluting fuels will be phased out in England in a bid to cut air pollution. These fuels are wet wood and house coal. The government would like the public to move to “cleaner alternatives”. Similar proposals are being considered in Scotland and Wales.
Plans for the ban were first announced in 2018 as wood burning stoves and coal fires are the largest source of the pollutant PM2.5, small particles of air pollution which can make their way into the body’s lungs and blood. It has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most harmful air pollutant for human health.
What measures are being taken?
- Sales of bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021
- Sale of loose house coal direct to customers to end by 2023
- Sales of wet wood less than 2m3 to be phased out by February 2021
- Wet wood in greater volumes to be sold with advice on drying it before use
- Solid fuel manufacturers will need to demonstrate that they have a very low sulphur content, emitting only a small amount of smoke
However, this does not mean that wood or multi-fuel stoves are being banned.
What is wet wood?
Wet wood is also known as unseasoned wood, or green wood. You’ll often find it in small, netted bags outside garages. It contains moisture which, when burned, emits harmful particles of air pollution (PM2.5). It can also damage chimneys by creating more tar and soot which build up within the chimney breast.
Consumers are being encouraged to use dry or seasoned wood. This is wood which has either been left to dry naturally (i.e. left for a at least twelve months in a dry place), or wood which has been kiln-dried. These types of wood have a moisture content of 20% or less, burn more efficiently and more cleanly. In turn, this generates more heat, lower flue maintenance requirements (although we still advise that you have your chimney swept at least once a year) and, of course, fewer health concerns.
Wood briquettes are another option. These are briquettes which have been manufactured using dry sawdust or woodchips.
Other manufactured solid fuels are available and it is proposed that they should conform to a test which confirms a sulphur content of below 2%. They should also emit less than 5g of smoke per hour.
There are also new fuels, such as coffee and olive logs which are beginning to enter the market, however no testing for these products currently exists.
What does it mean for you?
For many, nothing beats a traditional wood burning stove. The cosy warmth, the nostalgic glow; in short, the heartbeat of the room.
We stock a wide range of stoves, with options to appeal to those with traditional tastes and to those who would prefer a more contemporary look.
Our friendly team will be more than happy to discuss your requirements and to advise you of the various options when it comes to which fuel to use.
The days of the roaring fire at the heart of the family home are far from over.