Defra’s Clean Air Strategy

Defra’s Clean Air Strategy

Defra Clean Air Strategy May 2018On the 22nd May the Environment Secretary Michael Gove published a Clean Air Strategy which aims to cut air pollution and save lives, backed up through new primary legislation. Here we demystify the strategy and look beyond the misleading headlines.

The new strategy, which is now out for consultation, is a key part of Defra’s 25 Year Plan to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. HETAS, Woodsure and The Stove Industry Alliance have all been consulting with Defra for some time now and once again Defra has clarified they are not looking to ban stoves.

This draft of the Clean Air Strategy outlines ambitions relating to reducing air pollution in the round, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy. In this draft strategy, they set a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals. The strategy sits alongside three other important UK government strategies: Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. The Clean Air Strategy can be viewed in full by clicking here.

There are national emission reduction commitments for overall UK emissions of five damaging air pollutants. These are:

  • fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
  • ammonia (NH3)
  • nitrogen oxides (NOX)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)

The announcement highlighted one area of particular concern is burning wood and coal to heat a home which contributes 38%* of UK emissions of damaging particulate matter. Cleaner fuels and stoves produce less smoke, less soot and more heat. In future only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale. The Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme has been identified by Defra as the label to assist consumers in identifying firewood that is suitable for use.

*38% of UK primary PM emissions come from burning wood and coal in domestic open firesand solid fuel stoves, 12% comes from road transport (e.g. fuel related emissions and tyre and brake wear)10 and a further 13% comes from solvent use and industrial processes11 (e.g. steel making, brick making, quarries, construction). Between 1970 and 2016 primary PM10 emissions fell by 73%, and primary PM2.5 emissions fell by 78%. However, emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 have been relatively stable since 2009. The aim is to reduce emissions of PM2.5 against the 2005 baseline by 30% by 2020, and 46% by 2030.

The strategy sets out a number goals with a couple specific to our sector and can be viewed in full in Chapter 6 (from page 50) of the strategy. These include:

  • Point: 6.3.1 New powers for local government

Smoke control areas are specific areas, designated by local councils, where it is illegal to allow smoke emissions from the chimney of your building. In these areas you can only burn authorised fuels or use an appliance (e.g. a stove) which has been exempted for use in the area. Local authorities have advised that awareness of, and compliance with, smoke control area legislation is low and that few people make the link between domestic burning and air pollution. Some local authorities are working to raise awareness of smoke control areas and to re-assess their boundaries. However, they have told us that smoke control areas can be hard to enforce. That is why in future we will focus on a nationwide approach to smoke control which can be built upon as appropriate by local authorities. We will give local authorities powers to go further in areas of high pollution, for example exploring what further steps government can take to enable local authorities to encourage ‘no burn days’ during high-pollution episodes.

  • Point 6.3.2: Ensuring only the very cleanest stoves can be bought and installed

In 2022 new, tougher emissions standards will come into effect for all new domestic stoves. This will raise the standard of appliances across the whole country. These more stringent emission limit requirements for solid fuel appliances will need to be coupled with a more effective approach to testing. The government is consulting with UK industry and test houses on an approach that will better reflect the way appliances are used in people’s homes.

  • Point 6.3.3: Ensuring only the cleanest fuels are available for sale

We will simplify and update legislation to protect consumers so that only the cleanest fuels are available for sale. In January this year, government issued a Call for Evidence on domestic burning of house coal, smokeless coal, manufactured solid fuel and wet wood sold in small quantities for immediate use. The purpose was to identify appropriate action on wood which would enable people who buy wood in large quantities and season it at home to continue to do so, but to reduce the sale of wood that has not been seasoned or dried, which is highly polluting when burned. In addition, we wished to understand the impact of phasing out the sale of the most polluting mineral fuels, such as bituminous house coal or high-sulphur smokeless fuels. We will be taking the evidence and views submitted to develop a final proposal for legislative changes, and potential exemptions, which will be consulted upon in the summer. High sulphur content fuels are harmful to human health and the environment. They also cause damage to stoves and chimneys. At present the sulphur content of solid fuels is limited to 2% in smoke control areas but not elsewhere. It is hard for consumers to identify at point of sale whether a product is high sulphur or not. Government intends to extend this 2% sulphur limit nationwide to ensure that consumers are protected against cheaper, dirtier alternatives. In addition, new fuels are now entering the market made from a variety of wastes and recycled products. The government wishes to encourage innovation, but it is essential that all products are safe to use and that consumers understand what they are buying. Government will work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.

Biomass boilers are also addressed in the strategy.

The strategy identifies a number of voluntary initiatives that industry has undertaken to address concerns over air pollution from wood burning. These include Woodsure’s Ready to Burn, The SIA Ecodesign Ready scheme (administered by HETAS) and the Burnright campaign.

The strategy summarises actions to reduce emissions from domestic burning, clearly identifying there is no intention to ban wood burning stoves.

  • Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels.
  • Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.
  • Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution, bringing legislation into the 21st century with more flexible, proportionate enforcement powers.
  • Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.
  • Ensure that consumers understand what they can do to reduce their impact from burning.

HETAS will continue to work with Defra and industry to drive forward policy and reduce air pollution from wood burning. So what happens next? We met with Defra last week and will continue to keep you updated on progress. Additionally Defra would like your views on the actions being proposed to reduce air pollution and its effects, and to hear whether you have any further suggestions. Have your say at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/consultation/.

The Clean Air Strategy can be viewed in full by clicking here.

In recent months the HETAS team has produced guidance for our registrants, including the following:

Stay tuned to the HETAS website and social media channels for regular updates. Click here to get in touch with the team.

Latest news from the SIA

Latest news from the SIA

If asked the question Are the PM emissions from wood burning increasing or decreasing, you might well have answered increasing. A new study from Kings College London has shown that across the country PM from wood burning is going down, even with increasing stove sales.

The main reason given for drop in emissions is the replacement of open fires and older stoves with more modern appliances that produce lower amounts of particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5). The study headed by Dr. Gary Fuller looked at the wood burning emissions across most of the main cities in the UK between 2009 and 2014. Most cities showed a decrease in emissions over the period

The outcome of the study reflects the fact that only DEFRA Exempt stoves, with emissions that meet strict DEFRA limits on emissions, can be installed in smoke control areas. The reduction may not have been as great as we would all have liked, as the decrease in emissions is partly offset by the continued use of open fires to burn wood. Although burning wood in an open fire in a smoke control area is not permitted under the Clean Air Act, 70% of the wood burnt in London is on an open fire.

New Ecodesign regulations will come into effect in 2022, and the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has already worked with stove manufacturers to have an accredited list of SIA Ecodesign Ready appliances that already meet these new regulations right now.

Burning wood on an open fire is the worst way to burn wood, both from point of view of heat generated and the emissions produced. An SIA Ecodesign Ready stove can reduce PM emissions by 90% compared to an open fire, 80% compared to a 10-year-old stove and over 40% when compared with a DEFRA Exempt stove.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has proposed an upgrade scheme that would help consumers make the move from an open fire or an older stove to an Ecodesign Ready stove. This could help accelerate the introduction of Ecodesign Ready stoves and the reduction in emissions.

HETAS, the SIA, Woodsure and other industry organisations are continuing to work together to tackle the issues of air quality relating to wood burning.

 

 

Stove Industry Alliance

Stove Industry Alliance

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has just released a series of leaflets, covering Ecodesign and its implications for the industry, Ecodesign Ready stoves and the importance of burning dry wood. The leaflets are designed to give stove retailers and installers the information they need to talk to their customers on these important topics.

The SIA is an association of stove manufacturers and distributors, wood fuel suppliers, flue and glass manufacturers and industry supporters like HETAS and Kiwa.

The following SIA downloads are now available:

Find out more…

Search for Ecodesign Ready appliances on the HETAS Appliance Search facility.

For more information about the SIA please visit www.stoveindustryalliance.com.

The range of HETAS advice leaflets are also available at www.hetas.co.uk/consumer/hetas-advice and can be ordered via the HETAS Shop.

Come and see us at Specflue


Come and see us at Specflue

The next #HETASLive takes place at the end of the month at Specflue and includes a talk from the Stove Industry Alliance about Ecodesign and what it means to you.

#HETASLive at Specflue takes place on Wednesday 31st May between 4pm and 6pm. You can register for the event here.

Specflue is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of flue, chimney and renewable heat solutions; successfully supplying the UK market since 1992 and we are pleased to be hosting our next #HETASLive event at their Sudbury headquarters.

The event will provide installers, chimney sweeps and retailers with a chance to meet the HETAS and Specflue teams, pose your questions about the industry and have your say. You will also have a chance to look around the facilities on offer at Specflue and discuss your training requirements with the training team. Visit the Specflue training website to find out more about their range of HETAS Approved Training Courses and other courses available.

Are you Ecodesign Ready?

In addition Dennis Milligan of the Stove Industry Alliance will be talking about Ecodesign and what it means for you and your business. In advance of this session read  up about the launch of the Ecodesign Ready Scheme by clicking here.

The HETAS team look forward to seeing you at Specflue.

Specflue can be found at the following address: Specflue Ltd, 8 Curzon Road, Chilton Industrial Estate, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2XW

Can’t make this event? We hav3e a number of Live events coming up this year with more dates to be added during the year. Keep checking www.hetas.co.uk/live to find an event near to you.

 

Enhanced Appliance Search

HETAS Enhanced Appliance Search

In the January e-news HETAS introduced the Ecodesign Ready Scheme, a Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) scheme that is being overseen by HETAS, who will independently verify that the stoves meet the fundamental requirements of Ecodesign. Ecodesign Ready appliances can now be found on the HETAS search.

Ecodesign is the European-wide programme to lowering emissions. It is due to come into force in the UK in 2022. The main manufacturers in the SIA have decided to release stoves that will meet the lower emission limits now, six years early.

Ecodesign Ready Scheme

HETAS Enhanced Appliance SearchAs with HD ready TVs the Ecodesign Ready label will inform consumers that the stove will meet the new stringent emission limits.

The Ecodesign Ready scheme is supported by DEFRA. The SIA Ecodesign Ready label will set the standard for the most environmentally friendly stoves available today.

The scheme is being overseen by HETAS, who will independently verify that the stoves meet the fundamental requirements of Ecodesign. The stoves will also appear on the HETAS website search with the Ecodesign Ready label.

Independent tests have shown that an Ecodesign Ready stove produces 90% fewer emissions that an open fire and 84% fewer than a stove of ten years ago.

With the scheme due for a parliament launch on the 28th February, you can now search for Ecodesign Ready Appliances using the HETAS search facility. In addition, the search function has been further enhanced with new search options.  The ‘Find Product’ search now enables you to search using the following:

  • Manufacturer/Appliance Name
  • Product Type
  • Design Features: style/air control/hearth requirements/fuel operation/
  • Efficiency and Output
  • Additional Filters: auto ignition/outdoor installation/accumulator required
  • Certifications/Verification: HETAS/Defra/MCS/SIA Ecodesign Ready

The search results have also been enhanced with new icons which first featured in the 2016 HETAS Guide now available online, making the information on appliances easier to understand.

Take a look at the range of products using the search at: www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance

SIA Update

sia_logoIndependent research conducted by Kiwa on behalf of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has shown that modern clean burning stoves, designed to meet the new Ecodesign requirements, will reduce particulate emissions by 90% compared to an open fire and by 80-84% compared to an old stove.

This confirms the European wide understanding that Ecodesign stoves will lead to improved air quality. DEFRA is using the introduction of Ecodesign to reduce emissions from wood burning in the UK. The stoves were tested at their nominal operating level and also when turned down to reflect the burning cycle of a stove at start and finish. Open fires and oId stoves have increased emissions when turned down whereas the emissions from Ecodesign stoves reduce when turned down. The 84% reduction is during the turn down period, when traditionally the possibility of emissions is at its highest.

Kiwa tested an open fire, a stove from 10 years ago and a stove designed to meet the stringent emission levels in Ecodesign. The tests covered the emission of particles, other carbon gases (OCG) and NOx, which all showed significant reductions.

The SIA’s main manufacturers will ensure that all newly-designed wood burning stove models will meet Ecodesign environmental standards for particulate emissions, from now on. Ecodesign is the European Union’s programme for lowering emissions across Europe. On 14th October the member countries agreed on the emission limits for biomass appliances including wood burning stoves. This part of Ecodesign is known as Lot 20. The legalisation is due to be implemented in 2022 and covers a broad range of emissions including CO2, NOx and CO.

Test results can be viewed on the SIA website at http://www.stoveindustryalliance.com/testresults.