On Monday 14th October at the state opening of Parliament, the Queen’s Speech made reference to Environmental principles becoming enshrined in law, measures to improve air, water quality, tackle plastic pollution & restore habitats, new legally-binding environmental improvement targets & independent regulator all in new Environment Bill.
HETAS working with government
HETAS works closely with Defra (as a stakeholder, advisor and contractor undertaking the clean air contract work on exempt appliances and authorised fuels. Our engagement with Defra ranges from input to consultations, expert groups, implementation panels and in providing data, information and advice. Back in January Government published it’s Clean Air Strategy, you can read our summary here.
Since the publication, HETAS and Woodsure have been engaged with the team at Defra to better understand the role our industry has in the Clean Air Strategy. HETAS has a significant role to play in supporting Defra on matters like Woodsure, with Ready to Burn – installers, appliances, chimney systems, chimney sweeps, servicing, standards and legislation. As an impartial organisation we are trusted and seen as providing an unbiased view.
The Environment Bill
Following on from the Queen’s Speech, on Tuesday 15 October Government introduced what it describes as a landmark Bill “to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time, signalling a historic step change in the way we protect and enhance our precious natural environment.”
The Bill will ensure that Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.
Legislation will also create, legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards.
Bruce Allen, chief executive of HETAS, the solid fuel safety and standards organisation, explains why he is supportive of the proposals.
We see the draft Environment Bill as another step in the right direction. Like us, government shares priorities to address the problems of poor fuel and improve understanding among fuel consumers. Chimney sweeps, in particular, were identified as a powerful opportunity for making information available to householders, helping them burn fuels at home in an environmentally responsible way.
HETAS has recently extended the scope of it’s long standing Approved Chimney Sweep scheme. Find out more about this development here.
Read the full Government press release on the Environment Bill on the .Gov website.
Ongoing work at HETAS
Beyond the Environment Bill, our work with BEIS covers carbon emissions and appliance matters. There have been many thousands of wood/biomass appliances installed under The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)and HETAS is working with BEIS on post RHI measures to promote proper maintenance and servicing, correct fuel choice etc.
Of course, our work with MHCLG is ongoing and constant. We are pushing for a proper review of Approved Document J, amongst other things. HETAS is the only specialist solid fuel, wood, biomass Competent Persons Scheme so we are consulted on standards, approved documents and policy in general.
The devolved Governments can have different arrangements for engagement. HETAS and Woodsure are part of the consultation processes used by them.
Beyond our work with Government, HETAS continues it work with Building Control, Environmental Health, Conservation Officers and Surveyors.
Read our extended article on this here.