All sales of traditional house coal were banned in England from 1 May 2023.
If you’ve used house coal (also known as bituminous coal) to fuel your stove or open fire, it’s time to choose an alternative as of 1 May 2023, it has been illegal for businesses, including Approved Coal Merchants, to sell house coal for domestic burning in England. The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 outlaw the sale of wet wood and house coal as the most polluting fuels. Though, Approved Coal Merchants were given a two-year period ending on 30th April 2023 to continue selling loose bituminous coal directly to consumers. Traditional house coal extracted and sold from the Forest of Dean is exempt from this legislation and can continue to be sold locally.
As a result of the legislation, Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) implemented the Ready to Burn scheme for manufactured solid fuels (MSFs) and wood fuel. HETAS administer the scheme for MSFs and Woodsure run the scheme for wood fuel. The Ready to Burn certification marks make it easy for you to identify fuels that are suitable for immediate use, as well as help to reduce your impact on air quality and the fine particulate emissions released from heating your home.
Your coal merchant will be able to provide advice on suitable alternative fuels, including Ready to Burn MSFs. These meet certain standards for sulphur content and smoke emissions under the regulations. You will find a list of manufactured solid fuels that meet the Ready to Burn standards on the Smoke Control website, their ID code starts with MSF.
MSFs can be a good alternative to house coal as they burn more efficiently which means they are less polluting and cost-effective.