As a not for profit organisation HETAS’ purpose is to work for consumer safety and the wider public interest in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of biomass and other solid fuels. Within this purpose we aim to provide robust evidence to influence national and European standards for appliances, ancillary equipment, fuels and installation, providing up-to-date advice to businesses, consumers and regulators, researching options for improved service throughout the sector and engaging with national and local government to help minimise any adverse impact of the sector as a whole on wider society.
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 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 government will today (Tuesday 15 October) introduce a landmark Bill to Parliament 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.
Read the full press release on the Environment Bill on the .Gov website.
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 DLUHC is ongoing and constant. We are pushing for a proper review of ADJ 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.
Local Authority (LA) Funding
In April more than £3 million of government funding was awarded to 28 innovative projects to improve air quality across local authorities in England. The money, from the government’s Air Quality Grant, supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities.
A number of initiatives that received funding were relating to work on solid fuel. HETAS is actively engaged with these Authorities to see how we can support their funding objectives, be it through CPD sessions for their staff, PR support or awareness raising. These activities have proven beneficial in raising awareness of the services available through HETAS and our registered businesses.
More recently, Defra’s Air Quality Grant funding has invited fresh bids from Local Authorities, with £2m available for projects to improve local air quality. Applications for the grant for 2019-20 are open until to November 7 2019.
We will continue to monitor the funding and engage appropriately with LA’s.
CPD Sessions and Training
Our training department has undertaken a number of CPD sessions for a range of audiences, including Building Control, Environmental Health, Conservation Officers and Surveyors.
Such events evidence a wide knowledge base and provide HETAS with an opportunity to educate the audience on the importance of appliance selection, use of appropriately trained and registered installers and consumer awareness on appliance use.
More recent events have included:
- ISVA (Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association) Conference 2019
- North Yorkshire Building Control
- Gateshead building Control
- South Oxfordshire/Vale of White Horse Council
Speaking of the seminar held at Gateshead Building Control, their Environmental Health team commented:
Excellent presentation from HETAS. Great opportunity for CPD, working jointly with Building Control Officers and Environmental Health Officers. The technical detail of the presentation was very interesting & pictures of bad practice were excellent to learn from and discuss further. Lots of opportunity throughout for interaction with the audience for Q&A’s. The speaker was very knowledgeable and would recommend to anyone who is thinking about booking a training session. The 2 hours flew by – we could have easily continued to talk on this subject all afternoon!
Anyone looking to run a CPD session can contact the HETAS training team on [email protected].
HETAS operates a technical committee that meets regularly to discuss standards, regulations and legislation. Our committees are open to industry and we welcome anyone who would like to contribute to influencing the future of our industry. Alongside the Technical Committee we also operate an Installer Sub Group which has a more dedicated focus on installation standards. Through the work of this group, we will be publishing a number of technical notes over the coming weeks.
Anyone who would like to be involved in our committees can express their interest by contacting us directly on [email protected].
Events and Exhibitions
Alongside Woodsure the HETAS team has been nationwide at a number of trade and consumer events. These events provide a great opportunity for HETAS to engage with a wider consumer audience and promote our registrants and their products and services.
Some of the events we have attended this year include:
- Hearth & Home
- Confor Woodland Show
- The Wood Heat Association Conference
- The Newport Show
- Westmorland Show
- The Royal Welsh Show
- Dalston Show
- Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show
- RN Williams Fire & Stove Show
Our partners at Woodsure have also held a couple of industry seminars, including one at Hearth & Home and one in association with Small Woods. These engaging events have helped steer the feedback to Defra about any future legislation on firewood and the impact it might have on suppliers in this sector.