Defra’s Clean Air Strategy

Defra’s Clean Air Strategy

Defra Clean Air Strategy May 2018On the 22nd May the Environment Secretary Michael Gove published a Clean Air Strategy which aims to cut air pollution and save lives, backed up through new primary legislation. Here we demystify the strategy and look beyond the misleading headlines.

The new strategy, which is now out for consultation, is a key part of Defra’s 25 Year Plan to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. HETAS, Woodsure and The Stove Industry Alliance have all been consulting with Defra for some time now and once again Defra has clarified they are not looking to ban stoves.

This draft of the Clean Air Strategy outlines ambitions relating to reducing air pollution in the round, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy. In this draft strategy, they set a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals. The strategy sits alongside three other important UK government strategies: Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. The Clean Air Strategy can be viewed in full by clicking here.

There are national emission reduction commitments for overall UK emissions of five damaging air pollutants. These are:

  • fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
  • ammonia (NH3)
  • nitrogen oxides (NOX)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)

The announcement highlighted one area of particular concern is burning wood and coal to heat a home which contributes 38%* of UK emissions of damaging particulate matter. Cleaner fuels and stoves produce less smoke, less soot and more heat. In future only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale. The Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme has been identified by Defra as the label to assist consumers in identifying firewood that is suitable for use.

*38% of UK primary PM emissions come from burning wood and coal in domestic open firesand solid fuel stoves, 12% comes from road transport (e.g. fuel related emissions and tyre and brake wear)10 and a further 13% comes from solvent use and industrial processes11 (e.g. steel making, brick making, quarries, construction). Between 1970 and 2016 primary PM10 emissions fell by 73%, and primary PM2.5 emissions fell by 78%. However, emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 have been relatively stable since 2009. The aim is to reduce emissions of PM2.5 against the 2005 baseline by 30% by 2020, and 46% by 2030.

The strategy sets out a number goals with a couple specific to our sector and can be viewed in full in Chapter 6 (from page 50) of the strategy. These include:

  • Point: 6.3.1 New powers for local government

Smoke control areas are specific areas, designated by local councils, where it is illegal to allow smoke emissions from the chimney of your building. In these areas you can only burn authorised fuels or use an appliance (e.g. a stove) which has been exempted for use in the area. Local authorities have advised that awareness of, and compliance with, smoke control area legislation is low and that few people make the link between domestic burning and air pollution. Some local authorities are working to raise awareness of smoke control areas and to re-assess their boundaries. However, they have told us that smoke control areas can be hard to enforce. That is why in future we will focus on a nationwide approach to smoke control which can be built upon as appropriate by local authorities. We will give local authorities powers to go further in areas of high pollution, for example exploring what further steps government can take to enable local authorities to encourage ‘no burn days’ during high-pollution episodes.

  • Point 6.3.2: Ensuring only the very cleanest stoves can be bought and installed

In 2022 new, tougher emissions standards will come into effect for all new domestic stoves. This will raise the standard of appliances across the whole country. These more stringent emission limit requirements for solid fuel appliances will need to be coupled with a more effective approach to testing. The government is consulting with UK industry and test houses on an approach that will better reflect the way appliances are used in people’s homes.

  • Point 6.3.3: Ensuring only the cleanest fuels are available for sale

We will simplify and update legislation to protect consumers so that only the cleanest fuels are available for sale. In January this year, government issued a Call for Evidence on domestic burning of house coal, smokeless coal, manufactured solid fuel and wet wood sold in small quantities for immediate use. The purpose was to identify appropriate action on wood which would enable people who buy wood in large quantities and season it at home to continue to do so, but to reduce the sale of wood that has not been seasoned or dried, which is highly polluting when burned. In addition, we wished to understand the impact of phasing out the sale of the most polluting mineral fuels, such as bituminous house coal or high-sulphur smokeless fuels. We will be taking the evidence and views submitted to develop a final proposal for legislative changes, and potential exemptions, which will be consulted upon in the summer. High sulphur content fuels are harmful to human health and the environment. They also cause damage to stoves and chimneys. At present the sulphur content of solid fuels is limited to 2% in smoke control areas but not elsewhere. It is hard for consumers to identify at point of sale whether a product is high sulphur or not. Government intends to extend this 2% sulphur limit nationwide to ensure that consumers are protected against cheaper, dirtier alternatives. In addition, new fuels are now entering the market made from a variety of wastes and recycled products. The government wishes to encourage innovation, but it is essential that all products are safe to use and that consumers understand what they are buying. Government will work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.

Biomass boilers are also addressed in the strategy.

The strategy identifies a number of voluntary initiatives that industry has undertaken to address concerns over air pollution from wood burning. These include Woodsure’s Ready to Burn, The SIA Ecodesign Ready scheme (administered by HETAS) and the Burnright campaign.

The strategy summarises actions to reduce emissions from domestic burning, clearly identifying there is no intention to ban wood burning stoves.

  • Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels.
  • Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.
  • Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution, bringing legislation into the 21st century with more flexible, proportionate enforcement powers.
  • Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.
  • Ensure that consumers understand what they can do to reduce their impact from burning.

HETAS will continue to work with Defra and industry to drive forward policy and reduce air pollution from wood burning. So what happens next? We met with Defra last week and will continue to keep you updated on progress. Additionally Defra would like your views on the actions being proposed to reduce air pollution and its effects, and to hear whether you have any further suggestions. Have your say at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/consultation/.

The Clean Air Strategy can be viewed in full by clicking here.

In recent months the HETAS team has produced guidance for our registrants, including the following:

Stay tuned to the HETAS website and social media channels for regular updates. Click here to get in touch with the team.

Air Pollution in the news

Air Pollution in the news

Statement from HETAS

HETAS is aware that the news is full of stories about air quality and mixed within the greater problems of transport are dramatic headlines about wood-burning.

Both HETAS and Woodsure have been working with Defra over the last year providing support and solutions where our industry will be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

The London Mayor’s office have been equally supportive of HETAS and Woodsure. If you read the articles that sit beneath the dramatic headlines you will see that there is no wish from Defra to ban stoves or wood-burning.

The key issuers are:

  • Burn the right fuel in the right appliance
  • DO NOT BURN WET WOOD – the Defra approach fully supports the Woodsure Ready to Burn scheme as explained in Technical Bulletin #9 sent out last month
  • HETAS would like to see old open fires and old stoves replaced with modern clean burn appliances like Defra exempt stoves, Ecodesign Ready stoves and pellet stoves which can be 80% cleaner in use with the right dry fuel – click here to search for appliances on the HETAS website
  • Installation and servicing by HETAS registered professionals is a major factor in getting installations and servicing right
  • HETAS Approved Chimney Sweeps should be used to sweep chimneys regularly
  • We strongly recommend the use of smokeless mineral fuels as they are low in sulphur and cleaner in use
  • Make use of the HETAS Advice leaflets, available online here, or order via the HETAS Shop
  • Find out more on the https://www.readytoburn.org/ website

All these things are incredibly important to our industry and we must educate consumers on fuel, proper installation, appliance use, proper maintenance and sweeping. Always check you’re the user instructions for your appliance or consult with the installer, retailer or chimney sweep on correct use.

The reduction in particulate emissions when using dry wood is incredible. This is the most positive message we can give out and it is based on scientific research. Dry wood is so much cleaner in use and makes stoves work at their best. Other emissions are also reduced markedly when using dry wood. The Woodsure Ready to Burn Scheme and logo gives assurance that the wood logs are up to 20% moisture content and therefore “ready to burn” now. Any wet wood must be seasoned/dried before use.

You can be reassured that HETAS and Woodsure are incredibly active and working closely with Government to get this right and to reduce environmental impact from solid fuel burning so that consumers can enjoy the benefits of solid fuel, wood, biomass without feeling concerned.

Installers, servicing businesses and chimney sweeps have the biggest part to play in educating consumers and therefore reducing environmental impact and protecting our industry.

Stay tuned for the HETAS June e-newsletter next week where we will be issuing further updates.

Click here to get in touch with the team at HETAS.

Visit Worcester at Hearth & Home

Visit Worcester at Hearth and Home

Having launched its range of Greenstyle stoves range last year, Worcester Bosch Group will be showcasing its latest products at this year’s Hearth and Home show – stand B12. Exhibiting at the show for the first time, the Greenstyle range suits both modern and traditional homes and, with a choice of outputs available, can effectively heat a variety of spaces.

Both the Greenstyle Bewdley and Hanbury stove ranges are:Visit Worcester at Hearth and Home

  • HETAS Approved
  • Defra exempt
  • Includes clean-burn technology
  • Backed by a renowned award-winning technical support team

For those looking to stock the new Greenstyle stoves, representatives will be able to field any questions about the products.

Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester, Bosch Group, commented:

“We are delighted to be attending Hearth and Home for the very first time, and are excited to show off our new collection of Greenstyle stoves.

“Not only is Hearth and Home a great opportunity for us to get to know our stoves customers, it also offers them the chance to find out all they need to know about our latest offering.”

For further information on Worcester’s Greenstyle Bewdley and Hanbury wood burning stove, please visit www.worcester-bosch.co.uk.

Click here to view the Worcester Greenstlye stoves range on the HETAS product search.

Enhanced Appliance Search

HETAS Enhanced Appliance Search

In the January e-news HETAS introduced the Ecodesign Ready Scheme, a Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) scheme that is being overseen by HETAS, who will independently verify that the stoves meet the fundamental requirements of Ecodesign. Ecodesign Ready appliances can now be found on the HETAS search.

Ecodesign is the European-wide programme to lowering emissions. It is due to come into force in the UK in 2022. The main manufacturers in the SIA have decided to release stoves that will meet the lower emission limits now, six years early.

Ecodesign Ready Scheme

HETAS Enhanced Appliance SearchAs with HD ready TVs the Ecodesign Ready label will inform consumers that the stove will meet the new stringent emission limits.

The Ecodesign Ready scheme is supported by DEFRA. The SIA Ecodesign Ready label will set the standard for the most environmentally friendly stoves available today.

The scheme is being overseen by HETAS, who will independently verify that the stoves meet the fundamental requirements of Ecodesign. The stoves will also appear on the HETAS website search with the Ecodesign Ready label.

Independent tests have shown that an Ecodesign Ready stove produces 90% fewer emissions that an open fire and 84% fewer than a stove of ten years ago.

With the scheme due for a parliament launch on the 28th February, you can now search for Ecodesign Ready Appliances using the HETAS search facility. In addition, the search function has been further enhanced with new search options.  The ‘Find Product’ search now enables you to search using the following:

  • Manufacturer/Appliance Name
  • Product Type
  • Design Features: style/air control/hearth requirements/fuel operation/
  • Efficiency and Output
  • Additional Filters: auto ignition/outdoor installation/accumulator required
  • Certifications/Verification: HETAS/Defra/MCS/SIA Ecodesign Ready

The search results have also been enhanced with new icons which first featured in the 2016 HETAS Guide now available online, making the information on appliances easier to understand.

Take a look at the range of products using the search at: www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance

Condensing Biomass Boilers qualify for domestic RHI

mcs_logoThe Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced that condensing biomass boilers will be eligible for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which is due to launch in spring 2014.

The final domestic RHI policy was published in July 2013 and biomass boilers were initially excluded from the policy. This decision was subject to the result of tests being undertaken on behalf of the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to assess the potential impact on water quality of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs*) being emitted in the condensate of this type of boiler. Defra has now confirmed that while a small amount of PAHs are released in the condensate from condensing biomass  boilers the levels should not pose a significant threat to the aquatic environment once they have been through waste water treatment.

As a result the Government are content to extend the domestic RHI eligibility to condensing biomass boilers, provided they meet the other criteria of the scheme. This will apply to eligible condensing biomass boilers installed between 15th July 2009 and the launch of the scheme in spring 2014 and those installed after the launch of the scheme. HETAS has been instrumental in providing support to both DECC, Defra and appliance manufacturers during the research period. HETAS provide Microgeneration Certification product approval for biomass appliances. To find out more about the policy changes or to enquire about product approval with HETAS, please contact Brian Bailey on mcsproduct@hetas.co.uk, or call 01242 682042.MCSProduct PD

You can find MCS biomass products approved by HETAS using the search facility at https://www.hetas.co.uk/find-appliance

To read the full article please visit the DECC website by clicking here.

*PAHs are products of incomplete fuel burning and are categorised as priority hazardous substances under the EU Water Framework Directive.

 

 

Review of the Clean Air Act

Call for Evidence – have your say!

Review of the Clean Air Act: As part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge, The Clean Air Act (CAA) 1993 is being reviewed through a Call for Evidence. There are three main objectives of the review:

  • Reducing burdens on business and local authorities;
  • Making environmental rules and regulations more user friendly; and
  • Maintaining the quality of environmental regulations

Review of the Clean Air Act

The Call for Evidence presents evidence on the importance of the measures in the Act for air quality management and the burdens in terms of time and resources the Act places upon local authorities and business. Also outlined are selected stakeholders’ views for improving the Act. The purpose of the Call for Evidence is to seek your views on the current evidence base and your assistance with filling in evidence gaps. Defra welcome any comments and ideas you have for improving the Act and meeting the above policy objectives. Each section of the Act is covered, explaining in simple terms what the purpose of each provision is and outlining the evidence gathered to date:

Part I: Dark Smoke

Part II: Smoke, Grit, Dust and Fumes

Part III: Smoke Control Areas

Part IV to VII: Variety of Measures

The CAA is a Great Britain Act, but the Red Tape challenge review is an England only exercise. The Devolved Administrations remain key stakeholders and the Call for Evidence welcomes comments from stakeholders throughout the UK and further afield.

The Call for Evidence is open until 29th October 2013.

The following documents can be found on the Defra website:

  • Clean Air Act Call for Evidence summary document
  • Consultee letter
  • List of consultees

To view the Call for Evidence and to complete the online survey click here to visit Defra’s website.

Further information on the Government’s Red Tape challenge can be found at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk