Bruce Allen’s Insight | January 2021

Happy New Year from all us at HETAS. It’s not quite been the start to the year we were all hoping for with lockdown measures in place. I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

2020 was certainly a different year and posed challenges none of us could ever had anticipated. Despite that, you have all demonstrated real resillience and met these challenges head on. The industry is undergoing great change at the same time, new legislation has been put in place in England for fuels and we anticipate more changes to come and similar developments are taking place in Wales and Scotland. Greater scrutiny is placed on our sector and air quality remains and important issue we must all continue to work on. HETAS continues to engage with government departments, working groups, press, industry and consumers. We see the full consumer journey as an important part of getting things right and we are uniquely placed in industry to support that journey, from appliance selection and purchase, to correct installation and use, choosing the right fuels, to chimney sweeping, servicing and maintenance. We had record sessions on the HETAS website in 2020 and that trend has continued into 2021. Again, I trust this is reflected in enquiries and new business for you all.

From the feedback you give us we are aware that the technical content we provide through newsletters and our Technical Bulletins  is highly valued and widely read.  We do our very best to offer an appropriate mix of technical and other support and hope it’s really useful. Feedback is welcome at hello@hetas.co.uk.

With Ecodesign Legislation already in place for freestanding wood/biomass heating boilers this January meaning that there is just a year now before Ecodesign covers stoves. The HETAS Appliance approvals listing now give appliance manufacturers the opportunity to demonstrate that their appliances have met the full compliance requirements of Ecodesign. With tens of thousands of calls to HETAS consumer and installer helplines each year and up to 70,000 sessions to the HETAS website each month we are able to guide installers and consumers towards the relevant schemes and requirements for their circumstances and to meet their needs. As I write this today, the Environment Bill starts its journey through the various parliamentary stages. If the Bill becomes an Act we will see positive changes including some to the Clean Air Act and we can confidently promote clean burning stoves and clean good quality fuels as part of our industry’s efforts to promote environmental responsible burning. Rumours about the law will become less common as journalists and media can read for themselves, the facts about solid fuel, wood and biomass use. As more details become available we will use the HETAS and Woodsure web sites to keep you updated.

With contracts now awarded to HETAS and Woodsure for the running of Ready to Burn schemes for firewood and manufactured solid fuels, most fuel suppliers have a short time to ensure they have their fuels certified ahead of 1st May.

Stay tuned to our newsletters, Bulletins and social media for regular updates. Our Technical Helpline is just a call away to support you too.

I wish you a safe and positive 2021.