The team at Woodsure has returned from a successful APF ready for the heating season as the Ready to Burn scheme continues to go from strength to strength. Have you teamed up with your local supplier?
You will have all seen our recent coverage of the ongoing Defra consultations regarding air quality. Launched in August and running through until mid-October the latest consultation is focused on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood. At APF the Woodsure team spoke to large numbers of wodfuel suppliers on the impact of any possible changes to their business. This ranged from national suppliers and importers through to local suppliers, coppice businesses and tree surgeons. In conjunction with Confor, a positive seminar session took place on the Friday, allowing firewood suppliers to air their views. The seminar comments have helped form part of the consultation feedback from Woodsure.
This consultation gives more detail about the proposals set out in the Strategy, focusing on the domestic use of solid fuel in England considers what further steps can be taken to encourage households to make a change from dirtier to cleaner fuels, with some key areas of focus:
- Consumers who burn traditional house coal switching to alternative fuels (e.g. low sulphur manufactured solid fuels);
- Consumers switching from wet wood to dry wood (with a moisture content of 20% or less);
- Introduction of sulphur limits and smoke emission limits for all manufactured solid fuels.
It is here that Defra confirms that “We are not considering banning domestic burning. The government recognises that households have installed wood-burning stoves and the government is not seeking to prevent their use or installation.”
Section 2 of the consultation is looking at wood. Specifically focusing on firewood the proposals in this more detailed consultation include:
- Restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning so that it can only be purchased in volumes over a specified cut-off point
The consultation states:
From the responses to the Call for Evidence, there was conclusive support for restrictions on wet wood sales, either covering all wet wood or sales of volumes under 2m3. Some
respondents expressed concerns highlighting existing shortage of supply. Other concerns reflected that many fuel suppliers are quite small and therefore more vulnerable should we
opt to make this change (with little storage space to store larger quantities of wood, for example).
Net bags of logs sold by retailers such as service stations, DIY stores and garden centres generally contain wet wood and are likely to weigh between 5 – 15kg. These nets will
occupy much less than 0.5 m3 volume each (probably closer to 0.1m3). This quantity of logs is likely to be sufficient to keep a stove lit for a few hours and is a convenient size to
be picked up and carried home for immediate use. However at present there is nothing to advise the consumer that this wood is not ready to be burned, and needs seasoning
As expected, responses to the Call for Evidence suggested that only a minority of households burn wood as a primary heat source. They also indicated that wood-burning is
less common among low-income households who tended more towards burning coal. In order to implement this phase out, government intends to build upon the existing
industry led Ready to Burn certification scheme. What this means is that anyone wishing to sell wood in volumes under the specified cut-off will need to apply to the industry’s certification agency or equivalent (currently Woodsure). Enforcement will be carried out through the certification agency’s audit process complemented by Local Authority enforcement through Trading Standards.
Woodsure leading the way
As the UK’s only woodfuel accreditation scheme, Woodsure is ideally positioned and now has well over 50 accredited suppliers signed up to the Ready to Burn scheme, from national and local suppliers to seasoned and kiln dried. These suppliers are required to identify on their packaging that their product is indeed ready to burn, with each supplier being given a unique ID code. CVisit the Ready to Burn website to see if your supplier has met the standard.
Not only does the Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme focus on moisture content, it also ensure legality of the firewood that the supplier is using. The Woodsure website has a useful guidance on legality of firewood.
The consultation closing date is fast approaching, so please take a few moments to have your say. The closing date time is 11:45pm on 12 October 2018. Click here to view the details of the consultation and to have your say.