Bruce Allen’s Insight | December 2020

I’d like to start this month by passing on our very best wishes from all at HETAS, I hope each and every one of you has an opportunity to enjoy the festive period and take a break from work to spend time with family.

HETAS CEO Bruce Allen
HETAS CEO Bruce Allen

In my December 2019 insight I said it had been a challenging year, looking back it would have been impossible to imagine the challenges that 2020 would bring. Here we are at the end of the year and the industry continues to demonstrate it’s resilience. Whilst we expect to see COVID-19 impacting our lives for some time to come, installers, chimney sweeps and retailers have reacted well to the challenges and have come back stronger.

With air quality continuing in the headlines we continue to see developments on legislation across the UK, England has started off with the introduction of The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020. Expect further announcements relating to fuel over the coming weeks as the 1st May deadline approaches. These Regulations will see real changes to the use of fuels over the coming years. It’s not just about fuels though; appliances (stoves and boilers) continue to evolve in response to Ecodesign legislation, servicing and maintenance, consumer awareness on air quality, the environment and the importance of correct use of appliances, all play their part.

Scotland and Wales continue their consultations on domestic burning and as an organisation HETAS continues to represent industry in our meetings with the devolved administrations. Only by moving forward in a unified way can we enact change for the good.

I’m pleased to see our level of technical support to you all has remained in place throughout the year. Our latest Technical Bulletin, edition 20 has just been published, and we saw a massive response to the articles, it’s great to engage with you all on the articles. We produce 4 bulletins a year and hope to increase that in 2021. We also produce a series of Technical and Guidance Notes. This year we saw out thatch guidance updated, new notes on installations in leisure accommodation and insulation materials guidance too. Our helpline team, along with the extended technical department, are here to support you in getting the job done right the first time.

Not only that, we have had our busiest ever year on the website, despite periods of lockdown. The last six months has seen record sessions and a growing number of new users on the website. Just looking at search trends tells us that fireplaces and stoves are at a high we haven’t seen for a few years as people move homes and consider home upgrades over holidays. The number of notifications carried out by installers remains high

So, what will 2021 bring? I’m sure we will continue to see plenty of change along with challenges, stay tuned to our newsletter and I’ll include some insights for 2021 in my January update.

For now, enjoy the remainder of the year, thank you for your ongoing support, it is very much appreciated. Make sure you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and new year, best wishes from all of us here at HETAS.

Bruce