Bruce Allen’s Insight | June 2021

The rollercoaster that has been the last 18 months continues with the slight delay to “Freedom Day”. I hope you are all keeping safe and healthy. Recently we spent the week sharing tips on social media throughout Mens Health Week. It’s important we all take time to look after our physical and mental wellbeing. There are resources out there to help and I’ve included some links at the end of this welcome message.

HETAS CEO Bruce Allen

Despite the challenges faced recently, it’s been a busy year or more for our industry. This has been reflected in several ways. We’ve had a record breaking 12 months on the HETAS website, each month since June last year bringing record amounts of sessions and visits. Notified work to HETAS remains strong and buoyed by a healthy housing market too.

The industry is also going through some change at the same time, both for stoves and the biomass market. Recent months saw the introduction of The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020. HETAS is running the manufactured solid fuel element of this regulation and suppliers have adapted to the changes well. You can check details of suppliers on Defra’s smoke control website.

Numbers on the Ready to Burn scheme for woodfuel, administered by Woodsure, continue to grow ahead of the next heating season when the vast majority of wood fuel in England will be illegal to sell to domestic users without the logo. The Woodsure team has also been running some events with industry bodies and small suppliers (less than 600 cubic meters annually) who have an additional period to comply with the regulations. There are ongoing positive discussions regarding group schemes for small suppliers and we hope to finalise details soon.

More recently, Woodsure successfully bid to administer the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) The BSL is a list of woodfuel that has proven it meets the eligibility requirements for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. It allows RHI participants to easily demonstrate to Ofgem that the fuel they are using in their biomass boilers meets the RHI sustainability criteria required to claim their RHI payments. Woodsure takes on the administration from 1st July.

We are also seeing developments in relation to the BSL sustainability scheme for RHI. Government recently consulted and the outcome can be viewed here. For biomass, government will be mandating participants of BSL to also comply with a fuel quality standards e.g. as with the Woodsure Fuel Quality Scheme, and to carry out annual maintenance checks on their biomass boilers to increase efficiency and improve air quality emissions. HETAS has been working with government and industry and it’s pleasing to see us thanked for our work in the consultation directly. More on this in upcoming news.

As our thoughts switch to summer and warmer weather, we are pleased to be supporting The All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) and United Against CO with their #CarbonMonoxideSafe4Summer campaign. The United Against CO website has a range of assets if you want to suport the campaign. Click here to find out more. In other CO news, The Gas Safety Trust will now be known as The CO Research Trust, to provide a more accurate reflection of the work it carries out, and Baroness Finlay will become the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Since the Trust was established in 2005 the UK’s gas industry has taken significant steps forward to prevent CO exposure, thanks in part to better regulation and improved technologies. The new name reflects the broader focus of CO concern, beyond gas safety.

Our next Technical Bulletin will be landing in your inboxes very soon. They are an important read to keep up to speed with industry developments and common technical issues. In this newsletter we look again at the importance and procedure for flue draught testing. Our helpline team is on hand during office hours and via email to answer your technical questions too. The team of three, Oliver, Kevin and Stephen have a wealth of experience backed up by our wider technical team and are really there to support you in navigating the challenges of installations, Building Regulations and the various standards that apply to the work you undertake. Get in touch with the team on 01684 278170 (option 1).

As promised, here’s some useful links. Keep well.