The new legislation will ban the sale of the wet wood and house coal, aiming to prevent harmful pollution from domestic burning of all solid fuels. The Ready to Burn certification scheme will underpin The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 and comes into force in England from May 2021 for most fuel suppliers.
Defra has appointed Woodsure to run its Ready to Burn certification scheme for firewood. Wood sold in volumes of up to 2m³ will need to be certified as having a moisture content of 20% or less. Suppliers selling larger quantities will need to provide customers with clear instructions on storing and seasoning so it is dry to burn.
For the past four years, Woodsure has been leading the way in championing the use of less polluting dry wood and driving awareness of its certification scheme. The non-profit organisation’s independent inspectors verify the wood as having a moisture content of up to 20%, which means it burns with less smoke than wetter wood. Woodsure works closely with suppliers and retailers to improve the quality of domestic firewood. To raise awareness among consumers about the need to use dry wood to reduce pollution and maximise heat efficiency, also, making certified Ready to Burn wood fuel easy to find.
From May 2021, where wood is sold in volumes under 2m³ for combustion in domestic properties, the packaging must include the supplier’s name, the certification number and the Ready to Burn logo as identified in the regulations; proving that the wood has a moisture content of no more than 20%.
The legislation makes it possible for local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for offences without the need for a conviction. Smaller suppliers, those who supply less than 600m³ a year, will have an extra year to prepare for the regulations until May 2022.
Manufactured solid fuel
Manufacturers of solid fuels will also be required to demonstrate their products meet smoke emission and sulphur content standards through a certification scheme. Defra has appointed HETAS to run its Ready to Burn certification scheme for manufactured solid fuels. Local authorities will undertake the enforcement of the legislative requirements.
Manufactured solid fuels will need to meet certain standards to be listed as Ready to Burn from May 2021. A “manufactured solid fuel” means a fuel manufactured from coal, wood, plant-derived materials, waxes or petroleum products with other ingredients, for combustion in domestic premises in England.
From 1st May Part 4, Regulation 10 of the Legislation identifies that a person must not supply a manufactured solid fuel that is not authorised, and a person must not supply a manufactured solid fuel that is not on the list maintained by the Secretary of State under regulation 12.
HETAS has a strong history of approval, with long-running schemes for appliances and fuels, running the list of authorised fuels for Defra since 2018. HETAS is already working with Defra and fuel suppliers to ensure a smooth transition from the current fuels list maintained by the Secretary of State for Part 3 of the Clean Air Act 1993(2) to the Ready to Burn fuels from May 2021.