The importance of fuel quality

Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS and Woodsure, outlines some of the critical changes set to affect the industry in 2022 that will help to drive awareness of the need for good quality fuel.

Set against the backdrop of record rises in the cost of gas, oil and electric, many people are considering alternative sources to heat their homes, including wood, biomass and solid fuel appliances, which have the potential to save them money. Therefore, as an industry, we need to help customers understand some of the legislative changes coming into force this year so they can reap the benefits of using wood, biomass and solid fuel appliances safely, responsibly and efficiently. 

Here’s a reminder of the key dates for your diary:

  • 1st April – changes in fuel quality for the Biomass Suppliers List

Early in 2021 legislation was introduced that made a number of changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The changes to the RHI which impact accredited Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) fuel suppliers come into effect on the 1st April 2022.

All woodfuel must meet quality standard EN 15234-1: 2011, ISO 9001: 2015 or EN ISO 17225-4: 2014 or an equivalent, while wood pellets must meet ENplus A1 or equivalent. In order to demonstrate compliance with the standards, woodfuel and pellets must be certified by the Woodsure Certification Scheme or an equivalent ahead of the April deadline.

Suppliers who are already certified by ENplus® or Woodsure will have already been contacted to check that all the fuels they produce are certified, and their certificate is in date.

  • 1st May – Ready to Burn for small businesses

May 2021 saw the first deadline for the Defra-backed Ready to Burn scheme for larger suppliers. Smaller suppliers, those who supply less than 600m3 a year, were given an extra year to prepare for the regulations but this comes to an end on 30th April 2022.

In order to comply with the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 wood sold in volumes of up to 2m3 needs to be certified as having a moisture content of 20% or less. Wood labelled ‘Ready to Burn’ is verified by independent inspectors as having a moisture content of up to 20%, which means it burns with less smoke than wetter wood, helping to reduce the impact of burning on air quality and the environment while maximise the heat efficiency.

The team at Woodsure have been working to help small suppliers prepare for the changes over the last year and continue to be on hand to help businesses meet the pending deadline with Ready to Burn accreditation.

  • October 2022 – Government’s target date for improving air quality and reducing fine particulate emissions

In November 2021, the Government’s Environment Act passed into law and as part of the Act, new legally binding long-term targets were set to improve air quality and reduce fine particulate (PM2.5) emissions by October 2022.

Organisations like HETAS and Woodsure are at the forefront of pushing towards cleaner burning. The government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 estimated the contribution domestic burning of wood and coal makes to particulate emissions. While a new research project is underway to give greater clarity to the figures, we can already be certain from scientific research that using smokeless mineral fuels and dry wood fuel known as Ready to Burn and now legally required in England, drastically reduces the particulate emissions from domestic burning. After almost a year under the new Environment Act we are hoping to see real and positive change in emissions in October.

To find out more about any of these changes happening this year visit or


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