Bruce Allen’s Insight | August 2020

Welcome to the HETAS August Newsletter. We hope you are safe and well.

Judging by the surprising increase in consumer and professional trade enquiries to HETAS, and the huge interest in our website, it seems that customers and the trade are thinking about installations, sweeping, and servicing again. As Government loosens restrictions in some areas and tightens them again in others, we wish you well with all of your efforts to keep customers and yourselves safe and the future of your business.

Defra is pushing hard to get draft legislation through the Houses of Commons and Lords and whilst there is no agreed timetable, the final stages are for the lawmakers to debate any last-minute changes. From there on the Bill becomes an Act and onwards to legislation. It seems very likely that bituminous house-coal and wet wood in smaller volumes for fuel will be banned in England. The Ready to Burn scheme will be used to manage the sale of only dry wood and smokeless fuels. We have also seen the Welsh government publish their consultation response and The Clean Air Plan for Wales published.

Despite the awful circumstances of the past few months and the continuing pandemic we remain optimistic. With manufacturers investing in research and development making ever better and cleaner stoves, you can help consumers choose appliances that have been checked by HETAS for full compliance with future Ecodesign Legislation as well as compliance with CE marking – a unique certification scheme for consumers and professionals alike. We must all promote the very best woodburning stoves both as new installations and to replace open fires and old stoves. Action to reduce environmental impact from burning now will help our sector exist long into the future – failure to act now brings a danger that people believe all solid fuel is dirty and needs banning. Not a position that is supported by science.

Through HETAS you have access to a range of resources and benefits. We run a dedicated Technical Helpline with a team of three staff, provide monthly newsletters, quarterly bulletins and regular Technical Notes to support you in ensuring you can get the job done right first time. In addition, we work with third parties such as HETAS Insurance to offer you the right insurance for your business needs, LawBite offering a legal helpline and Prompt Payer, who offer ethical debt recovery and loan brokering services along with a range of other services. We are also pleased to continue our partnership with Which? and their Trusted Traders scheme where HETAS registrants can take advantage of discounted membership. In this month’s newsletter, we have updated from some of these third parties and how you can make use of their services.

Please remember that Chimney Fire Safety week starts at the end of the month and the more support we give it, the more people will use professionals to install, sweep, and service installations, protecting the customer and the future of our sector. It’s pleasing to see chimney fires declining year on year and it’s down to the hard work of you all, from installing and commissioning through to annual sweeping and servicing visits, offering stove users the advice they need get the most from their heating in a safe way.

I hope you find this month’s newsletter of interest, we always welcome feedback on what you want to read about. Our next newsletter will be in September along with our popular Technical Bulletins, edition 19 is being written right now.