Bruce Allen’s Insight | August 2023 

Welcome to my insight to the August 2023 HETAS monthly newsletter.

With autumn on its way, our minds start turning to the busy heating season ahead. As soon as the weather turns colder the request for your services will no doubt increase. Demand for wood burning stoves has been on an upward curve since last August when the country experienced several financial challenges that continue to this day. There are suggestions, despite the anticipated drop in the energy cap in October, that increased energy bills could be around until the end of the decade. Government’s policy recognises that wood burning can be a low carbon and sustainable option for homeowners in the UK and at HETAS we continue to work with various government departments and local council on future policy across the wood burning and biomass sector, covering the issues of net zero, sustainability, (indoor and outdoor) air quality, safety and standards and much more. 

This month we saw the eagerly anticipated publication of the governments Biomass Strategy. The United Kingdom has set an ambitious target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The publication gives a vital insight to the sector into governments short-, medium- and long-term views on the role of biomass as a renewable supply of energy across the three energy types (transport, heat and electricity) as well as in the non-energy sectors. Vitally The Rt Hon Graham Stuart (Minister of State for energy Security and Net Zero) suggests that ‘biomass’ unique potential as a carbon negative renewable energy source will prove ever more valuable in our efforts to reduce emissions.’ The policy document identifies the complex challenges related to decarbonisation across the various sectors and the need for negative (carbon) emission technology. Carbon capture and storage plays an important role in the future of biomass. Another vital factor identified within the strategy is the need for securing a sustainable supply of biomass, both from within the UK and from imports. There are hints that sustainable requirements for biomass will be tightened, with a consultation on a sustainability framework to support this approach. HETAS and Woodsure welcome this strategy and future commitment to biomass for heat. 

Further detail on the Biomass Strategy is included in this month’s newsletter, along with links to the government publication. 

Coming up next week we have Chimney Fire Safety Week. As a safety organisation, such campaigns are within our DNA. We spend all year working hard to make sure solid fuel and biomass  use is safe, clean and efficient, but campaigns like this provide a dedicated focus to promote safety messages far and wide. Although annual reported instances of chimney fires are on the decline, we are still seeing thousands of avoidable fires every year (with more going unreported too). We have once again made a range of resources available for you to use. Our marketing also extends to ongoing communications with thousands of local authority contacts, fire and rescue services and Trading Standards. Additionally, and most importantly we will be sending safety messages out to our consumer database, reminding them of the importance of having their chimney swept and stove serviced ahead of the heating season and beyond. We have already been posting on social media about Chimney Fire Safety Week, please get involved in any way you can too. Here’s a link to some of the resources you can make use of. Let us know what you have planned this Chimney Fire Safety Week. 

It was just over a year ago that we launched the new HETAS website, and we saw a massive surge in interest in the safe and efficient, environmentally responsible use of wood burning stoves. While the energy crisis has eased slightly and the energy price cap due to reduce from October to December, energy consultancy Cornwall Insight does not expect energy prices to return to the low pre-Covid levels before the end of the decade at the earliest. The vulnerability of the country’s energy system to global events generally hints towards increased energy bills, driven by events such as the war in Ukraine and potential industrial action at Australian liquified natural gas (LNG) production facilities. Many UK householders who have chosen wood burning or biomass heating do so for some degree of fuel independence. We continue to see high levels of interest on the HETAS website, with the searches for skilled and registered  professionals continuing to perform well. Make sure you are keeping us up to date with your contact details, which you can manage through the new Technical hub and ensure you are linking your website to your business listing on the HETAS website too. 

Following a year with our new website hosts, we have also now moved our dedicated Technical Hub across too. Thank you to everyone who has accessed the site. We’ve seen an increase in site use versus previous years and notifications of installations and biomass maintenance are up too. If you haven’t logged in to the site yet, please do so at your earliest opportunity and speak to the team if you have any issues with access. Moving across to the new platform provides us with the opportunity to make ongoing improvements in a timelier way, thank you to everyone who has given us feedback on the new system to date. A gentle reminder that you must notify your installations to HETAS through the Technical Hub as soon as possible, within 14 days of completion of the installation. 

There are some upcoming events that might be of interest, outlined in this month’s newsletter. In September, our teams will be attending the Kiwa Energy training centre open evening, details of the event can be found on LinkedIn. We also head north to join the annual RN Williams Fire & Stove Show before we journey south to support Woodsure at the Confor Woodland Show. Finally, we attend the REA’s Wood Heat Conference 2023 in October. Details on these events can be found on the HETAS website. 

I wish you all a positive and busy heating season ahead. As always, please do get in touch with the team if you have anything you would like to discuss.

Login to the HETAS Technical Hub to access a range of resources including, Technical Bulletins and to notify your installations, also read the latest news on the HETAS website.


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