A Consumer Guide To Ecodesign And Defra Exemption

The HETAS team have put together a simple guide to give consumers an overview of Ecodesign and Defra Exemption requirements.
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We have put together a simple guide to give you as a consumer an overview of Ecodesign and Defra Exemption requirements. Hopefully, this will enable you to make an informed choice about buying a solid fuel appliance. Both standards support government initiatives to reduce the impact of emissions from domestic solid fuel burning.


Implementation dates for Ecodesign legislation in the UK:

  • Independent Boilers – 1st January 2020
  • Roomheater Stoves, Stoves with Boilers & Cookers – 1st January 2022.

The important thing to note is that legacy installations and appliances confirmed to have been placed on the market prior to January 2022 will be unaffected.

So this means, newly manufactured appliances coming off the production line and placed into the supply chain after the 1st of January 2022 will be required to meet Ecodesign legislation requirements. These set new minimum seasonal efficiency and maximum emission limits for all solid fuel appliances. The emission limits relate to:

  • PM – Particulate Matter
  • OGC – Organic Gaseous Compounds
  • CO – Carbon Monoxide
  • NOx – Nitrogen Dioxide.

These are in most cases tested when the appliance is operating at its nominal heat output as prescribed by the manufacturer in their operating instructions. This is the rated output in which the appliance has been designed to operate at by the manufacturer to heat the room in which it has been installed.

Read more about the details of the Ecodesign requirements here.

Defra Exemption

In designated Smoke Control Areas (SCAs), you can burn Defra authorised fuels in any appliance or when wanting to burn unauthorised fuels, like wood, you can only do so in a Defra exempt appliance. The list of Defra authorised fuels and exempt appliances can be found on the smoke control website. To find out if you live in an SCA contact your Local Authority.

Exempt appliances are tested at both the nominal and minimum air settings, which they must meet limits for Particulate Matter (PM) emissions in both settings. The appliances are also required to have a stop to prevent shutting down of the air controls of the appliance to a lower level (slumbering) which may result in higher emissions during longer lower level burn times.

Read more about the risks of slumbering an appliance that is not designed to do so here.

Ecodesign legislation will not replace the requirements of Smoke Control Areas and remember to check with your Local Authority to find out if you’re in an SCA.

We recommend consulting directly with a HETAS Approved Retailer as to what stock they have available and what appliance would be suitable for your needs. If you have already purchased or selected an appliance, speak directly to a HETAS Registered Installer to ensure they are able to carry out the work you are looking to have completed. All HETAS registrants have access to a dedicated technical team should they need any support during your consultation or installation.

You can also view a range of HETAS Approved, Ecodesign and Defra Exempt appliances through our online product search.


HETAS, Severn House, Unit 5 Newtown Trading Estate, Green Lane, Tewkesbury, GL20 8HD