What is the Cleaner Choice scheme?

Why is the Cleaner Choice Scheme is needed?

In line with on-going government strategies to promote cleaner air and to better support consumer decisions in the purchase of environmentally responsible products, HETAS has launched the independent “Cleaner Choice” initiative for UK biomass and solid fuel products. These developments aim to reform the currently recognised HETAS Product Approval Scheme, to align with changing legal requirements as well as keeping up with demand from consumers for appliances that can be utilised for the environmentally responsible and safe burning of cleaner and lower carbon fuels. Air quality and carbon reduction is more than ever a topic of conversation with consumers contacting HETAS for advice on their appliance choice. These changes will affect the range of appliances we will certify moving forward to publicly list and better promote cleaner burning and efficient biomass appliances, surpassing current government clean air requirements.

Additionally, in response to consumer demand driven by some confusing media coverage and after consultation with our installers and other stakeholders, we are updating our scheme to highlight the appliances, which are verified through appropriate test data, to emit lower levels of particulates, including PM2.5’s.

To achieve this, we have set a lower level of particulate emissions than the most stringent legislation requires within current Smoke Control Areas. This now means that a stove must meet both the current requirements for exemption and have attained listing on the DEFRA website, whilst also achieving at least a 50% improvement on current particulate limits for exemption, when measured using the more robust test methodology recognised within the UK. In doing this we hope to demonstrate to buyers that appliances can be used to burn fuels responsibly and operated in a way that reduces smoke (particulate) emissions. For biomass boilers, already having greater levels of combustion controls, they must demonstrate that they too meet the same stringent emissions standards and are exempted for use in smoke control areas where legally required.

With so much misunderstood and misleading messaging from some media, it is vital that we promote the cleaner burning appliances and advise the many consumers contacting us and reading our messages, to purchase and use the cleanest of appliances in an easy to understand and transparent format. This will help better protect the future of wood burning, which of course offers lower carbon options and a sustainable fuel source as well as, in this case, guiding consumers to the cleanest burning appliances.

With the major criticism of wood burning being centred around the emission of harmful particulate matter, or smoke, this initiative provides clear guidance and choice from a range of appliances that can be relied upon for responsible burning.

The HETAS Cleaner Choice Approval Scheme is unique in that HETAS is a third party independent and impartial certification body that relies on first-hand review of test data from notified laboratories in checking that each appliance meets, and in critical areas, exceeds some of the most stringent limits set by tested standards and test methods. The HETAS Cleaner Choice Approval Scheme, while focused on particulate emissions, also provides the consumer and installer assurance that the appliance listed meets all the relevant regulations in the UK as before, including safety and performance requirements, correct operation, and correct installation for HETAS registrants.

Concerns about domestic woodburning in the UK and its impact on air quality are very much front of mind for many and ultimately we all breathe the same air so, as an organisation we are dedicated to doing all we can to help push consumer choices towards cleaner burning technologies. “In addition to administering DEFRA exemption, HETAS has put its years of experience in helping both those in the solid fuel appliance industry and consumers into developing a rigorous certification scheme that can really deliver emission improvements. It is also a badge of trust that a ‘cleaner choice’ has been made which is important as we all strive to reduce our environmental impact.

Calvin May – Head of HETAS Technical Services

What are the requirements of Cleaner Choice?

The appliance must meet the following:

Clean air act requirements

Consideration for any higher-level scheme to embrace exemption and include improvement measures against those stipulated within PD6434.

HETAS Cleaner Choice 50% Improvement on CAA requirements

  • Appliances must meet the 50% improvement over an average of 3 or 5 tests (dependent on appliance) for particulates at both high and low output. The limit is given from the equation (5/0.3)*0.1)/2. E.g. for a 5kW stove output the limit would be 3.3 g/h.

Energy Labelling & Ecodesign requirements

  • Products must as a minimum meet all essential requirements of Ecodesign & Energy Labelling, including minimum seasonal efficiency and maximum permitted emission limits. This information also being clearly visible to the consumer to aid consumer choice on retailer websites and associated documentation.

Building regulation requirements

  • Requirement for instructions to contain guidance that a) is true representation of initial type testing results and
  •  b) does not conflict with ADJ installation practices and guidance. Will also require meeting minimum gross efficiency criteria within DBSCG, however Ecodesign now stipulates a more stringent measurement for this.

UKCA / CE marking requirements

  • The appliance must meet all the relevant clauses of UKCA/CE marking including verifying that a suitable FPC is in place.

Want to apply?

Manufacturers can apply by contacting Nicole Clarke on 01684 215217 or email [email protected].


HETAS, Severn House, Unit 5 Newtown Trading Estate, Green Lane, Tewkesbury, GL20 8HD