Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Here at HETAS we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable festive period with your family and friends. Here are some of our top festive tips to help you along the way, including getting your chimney swept and checking smoke and CO alarms.  

Be alarmed!

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an extremely poisonous gas that can be present in the fumes from the combustion of fuel’s which aren’t burnt under the correct conditions. Fuels such as gas, oil, solid mineral fuel and biomass all have the potential to emit CO. The gas cannot be seen, smelled or tasted making it difficult to detect.

Every Tuesday we support the #testittuesday initiative encouraging everyone to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Head over to the HETAS Facebook page for regular tips and advice.

CO alarms must be in a permanent, fixed position and located in the same room as the appliance, as per Approved Document J of the Building Regulations. The handy picture below identifies the best position for a CO alarm.

Make sure you are aware of the signs of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, our advice page has some useful tips.

Safely Stored

We have seen it so many times, a pile of logs stacked neatly next to a stove. This can be very dangerous and has led to firewood igniting before it’s even made it into the stove.

As recently as last weekend we were informed of a fire caused by logs being stored too close to a wood burning stove. Click here to find out more.

Earlier this year, logs stored next to a stove ignited and caused a house fire. Read the full article in the Dorset Echo.

Where is your firewood stored? Make sure you keep your firewood a safe distance from the stove.

Keep guard!

As the story above highlighted, an unattended stove can have dangerous consequences. Never leave a stove unattended and make sure the fire has been put out before you head off to bed or leave the house.

You might also have family visiting with younger children or elderly who might not be used to a stove. If the stove is lit, ensure the use of a fireguard.

Bin that ash

Hot and cooling ashes can be a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. Make sure that you leave sufficient time after a fire to let the ash cool and keep the door to the stove closed. Ensure that all disposing of ash is done so with the correct equipment, such as safety gloves. Use a galvanised steel or metal ash can or bucket that can be sealed to collect all the unwanted ash. Take your time to remove the ashes to avoid any ash spreading across your room. Slowly transport the container outside of your house and dispose of in a designated area. Do not allow ash to collect in the bucket inside your house for any period of time.

Take a read of our full article on stove ash at https://www.hetas.co.uk/safe-disposal-of-ash-from-your-stove/


Further Reading


 

Why dry firewood?

Why dry firewood?

The Woodsure team, along with Steve Ellis from Elcombe Fire & Wood, have produced a short video highlighting the importance of burning dry firewood. The video demonstrates the benefits of Ready to Burn firewood.

As installers, retailers and sweeps, you will all know the positives behind burning dry firewood and share with customers the benefits of doing so. To support your advice, the team at Woodsure has produced a short video where they

This video clearly demonstrates the benefits of burning dry firewood, including the following benefits:

  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Increased heat output
  • Easier to light the fire
  • Less smoke
  • Less deposits of soot on the stove door

Head over to the Woodsure website and check out the video. https://woodsure.co.uk/dry-firewood-video/.

Feel free to share this video on your social media channels. If you have your own videos on the benefits of dry firewood, let us know on hello@hetas.co.uk.

Show your support

Woodsure flyers are available to advise your customers on the benefits of burning Ready to Burn firewood. The flyer can be downloaded at www.readytoburn.org/ or contact hello@woodsure.co.uk to place an order for printed copies.


Further Reading


 

Hotting up at Woodsure

Ready to Burn LogoHotting up at Woodsure

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.”

Fuel Focus

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
before use.
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.

If you are interested in joining the Woodsure scheme, the team can be contacted on hello@woodsure.co.uk or call 01684 278180.

Consultation Closing

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.

Is your fuel legal?

Is your fuel legal?

Recently the Woodsure team provided an update to its members on the legality of woodfuel. The article is really insightful and we wanted to share the update with installers, retailers and sweeps so you can check with your suppliers.

When finding a supplier of the raw material, ensure that they can provide you with proof of Legality and sustainability this can be by the following:-

  • FSC, PEFC or other recognised voluntary certification scheme
  • Management plan in place & valid felling licence
  • Risk Based Regional Assessment (RBRA)

If purchasing from a company who is a member of a voluntary certification scheme it is important to ensure that the licence is valid for the supply you receive.  This can be checked on the relevant scheme website, such as FSC. Simply enter the details and check the product type is valid for what you are being supplied. A description of corewood, rough wood is fine, but if it states card or paper alarm bells should ring as a wrong licence number may have been given.

If purchasing timber that is not covered by a certification scheme, then we recommend that you use one of the other two methods to demonstrate legality.  Felling licences are given for felling on the licensed area of land they are granted for.  There are different types of permission to fell trees: health and safety, planning permission, Statutory Plant Health Notices or thinning of woodland.  Licences can be issued for one off activities or associated with a management plan.  A licence cannot be extended beyond its expiry date and its FREE OF CHARGE to apply for one! A felling licence associated with a management plan normally lasts 5 or 10 years.

RBRA can be used when receiving volumes of timber from within a region.  It assesses the risk of the timber coming from sustainable sources.  The Biomass Suppliers List and Confor have a template that can be used for timber being sourced within the UK and guidance on RBRAs on the government website for those sourcing from outside the UK.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/woodfuel-guidance-version-2

We recommend all Woodsure accredited businesses should request that their timber supplier demonstrates proof of legality and sustainability. It is suggest you record all your suppliers on a simple spreadsheet document showing name, address, licence number, validity date and that you have some form of checking in case licences are revoked, perhaps check the licence numbers every quarter.

Importing Wood fuel

There are two things that you need to ensure when importing firewood into the UK: the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), and the Statutory Firewood Notification Scheme.

Any wood coming into the EU needs to comply with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which came into force on 3rd March 2013. The regulation affects all who first place timber on the EU market, plus those further down the supply chain.   Anyone importing wood into the UK is affected by this and must show that they have practices in place to ensure the legality of the wood being imported, even as a finished product. A due diligence system must be in place for anyone importing and to comply the minimum requirements are:

  • Full information on the supplier
  • Assessment that the timber being imported is legal and applies to regulation
  • Checked and identified any risks by obtaining any additional information to verify legality.

Templates for this can be found on the Forestry Commission England website.

For those who buy and sell wood further down the supply chain it is essential to record where you buy from and who you sell to.

Firewood notification came into force on 1st January 2017 to assist the Forestry Commission in assessing the pest-risk represented by the trade in fuel wood.  All relevant consignments, irrespective of size/weight, must be notified at least 3 working days prior to landing.  Notification of landing is a statutory requirement and failure to comply is a contravention of the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2015.  In addition, certain species will also require a Plant Passport.

For more advice on this topic get in touch with the team on 01684 278188 or email info@woodsure.co.uk

Useful Links

Here are some other useful links on this topic:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-timber-regulation-guidance-for-business-and-industry

http://www.fsc-uk.org/en-uk/about-fsc

https://www.pefc.org/

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/publicregisters

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-fellinglicences

https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FellingLicenceFAQJuly2005.pdf/$FILE/FellingLicenceFAQJuly2005.pdf

Is your wood Ready to Burn?

Is your firewood Ready to Burn?

Ready to Burn LogoInstallation of a stove can be a whole new experience for many homeowners with a lot of information to take in.  HETAS in partnership with Woodsure aims to eliminate the confusion surrounding what wood to burn.  We have launch a scheme called “Ready to Burn” and it enables homeowners to have confidence in the wood they are buying.

Moisture Content

Any wood displaying the Ready to Burn logo will have 20% moisture content or less and once you get it home it is “Ready to Burn”, safe in the knowledge that it will not be causing damage to their appliance and in addition will be reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

We believe that there will be many benefits; appliances will function as they should, the environment will benefit from the reduction of harmful particulates from burning wet or unseasoned wood and homeowners will have the assurance that wood bearing the Ready to Burn logo is exactly that, ready-to-burn! If the right fuel is not used in appliances; the once-beautiful stove becomes ineffective, smokes and smoulders and over time creosote builds up in the appliance and flue.

Ready to Burn Suppliers

For more information and stockist, please visit the ‘Ready to Burn‘ and Woodsure websites.

HETAS also has a range of consumer advice leaflets which can be viewed at www.hetas.co.uk/consumer/hetas-advice.

Ready to Burn Latest News

Ready to Burn Latest News

Ready to Burn Latest NewsYou spoke: We Listened!

Following a recent governance meeting for the Ready to Burn initiative, it was agreed that the scheme would accredit suppliers based on a moisture content of 20% or less.

Burning dry wood on modern stoves can further significantly reduces the amount of particle emissions and improve air quality compared to burn wet wood on open fires.

Moisture Content

The Ready to Burn certification mark is available to wood log suppliers who demonstrate to Woodsure their firewood logs have a moisture content consistently below 20%.  Note: whilst less than 20% is a key requirement of the scheme the message we are promoting to consumers’ and the industry is to burn dry wood fuel, ie the message is: burn wood fuel that is dry and ‘ready to burn’. The scheme is open to firewood and briquette suppliers who we are expecting to supply ready to burn fuel.

The scheme focuses on fuel that is purchased with the intent to burn within a short period of time; including small pre-packed retail woodfuel bags, and bulk delivery bags less than 2m3. Any suppliers offering the sale of wood for seasoning should contact Woodsure to talk through our other wood schemes options.

The scheme has the support of DefraHETAS, the Stove Industry Alliance and Industry representatives, including large producers of pre-packed woodfuel have committed to a scheme that will clearly identify the wood that is ready to burn at the point of sale. Woodsure and HETAS will raise awareness for wood fuel consumers to only burn low moisture, ready to burn firewood.

Scheme requirements

The ‘Ready to Burn’ initiative is for wood log suppliers, having a distinct certification category for dry firewood logs where they are able to demonstrate through audit and point of sale moisture checks that woodfuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:

  • Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
  • Is less than 20% moisture content
  • There is point of sale information, labelling and support
  • Where appropriate, retailers provide information on how to effectively store and keep the firewood in good condition

Is your firewood Ready to Burn? Contact the Woodsure team on 01684 278188 or click here to complete an enquiry form.

Find out more about Woodsure: Click here to subscribe to their quarterly newsletters.

Ready to Burn Update

Ready to Burn LogoReady to Burn Update

Following on from a successful launch during June at Hearth & Home, HETAS and Woodsure are pleased to see firewood producers signing up to the Ready to Burn initiative. We introduced the scheme in our last newsletter and intend to have suppliers registered in advance of the heating season.

The ‘Ready to Burn’ initiative is for wood log producers, having a distinct certification category for dry firewood logs where they are able to demonstrate through audit and fuel testing that woodfuel they sell as ‘Ready to Burn’ is:

  • Labelled as ‘Ready to Burn’
  • Is less than 20% moisture content

(check the manufacturers instructions for your appliance, it should have guidance on the appropriate fuel and moisture content)

  • There is point of sale information, labelling and support
  • Where appropriate provides retailers with information on how to effectively store and keep the firewood in good condition

Making this dry fuel available to consumers in a way that they can recognise it is ready to burn and differentiate it from wet wood, will significantly increase the sale of dry wood whilst at the same time educating consumers on the benefits.

The principle of the Woodsure scheme is that raw materials, the collection of trees and forestry thinning or post timber processing is legally sourced, processed to achieve size and moisture characteristics and made available to the end consumer with clear identification.

If you are interested in joining the scheme or know of a supplier you’d like to recommend the initiative to, please click here to complete the Woodsure enquiry form.