Government Announces Clean Air Strategy 2019
Today the Government published the Clean Air Strategy 2019, a key document in tackling air pollution, making our air healthier to breath, protecting nature and boosting the economy. The strategy looks at a range of actions to reduce emissions/pollution, including:
- The home
- Clean growth and innovation
For our industry, chapter 6 of the strategy is of real importance, actions to reduce emissions at home. One of the aims of the strategy is to raise awareness of the breadth of everyday activities that contribute to air pollution.
The government’s objective is to raise awareness of the potential impacts of air pollution at home and ensure that consumers are armed with reliable information enabling them to make informed choices to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours.
As you will no doubt be aware open fires and wood burning stoves have risen in popularity over the years, providing an additional form of heating for many, and for some, the sole heat source. While emissions from domestic burning have reduced significantly since the 1950’s, there is more that can be done to reduce pollution.
What does the strategy tell us?
It is clear that not all forms of domestic burning are equally polluting. Appliances, how well they are used and maintained along with what fuels are used can all make a big difference to how much pollution is produced.
The strategy also identifies that “using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference”.
Strategy Key Actions
HETAS summarised many of the key developments in a post last year in a post about misleading headlines relating to the banning of wood stoves, with many of these points remaining applicable to the strategy.Here are the key action points from the Clean Air Strategy 2019.
- Legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels
We have already seen the launch of Woodsure’s Ready to Burn scheme which now has a large number of accredited suppliers committed to the scheme and HETAS is updating it’s list of Approved smokeless fuels to meet future legislation requirements.
- Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022
HETAS appliance approval is already recognising appliances that are ahead of the game and already Ecodesign compliant. By 2022 HETAS will only accept Ecodesign compliant stoves. HETAS also works with the SIA to list Ecodesign Ready Stoves on the website.
- Make changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce
HETAS recognises that enforcement can be challenging so any developments made through the Environment Bill will be welcome. Dealing with polluters is an important step in improving air quality.
- Give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution
HETAS is keen to see a uniform approach across the UK to enforcement to avoid confusion, again with a focus on tackling polluters.
- Work across government to look at opportunities to align work on air quality, clean growth and fuel poverty in future policy design
In recent years we have seen the important role Defra has in working with key industry organisations like HETAS, Woodsure, the Stove Industry Alliance and chimney sweeping organisations. It is pleasing to see a joined-up approach taken at government level regarding future policy.
- Develop a dedicated communications campaign targeted at domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental impact of their actions
HETAS recognises the vital role our registrants play in any consumer awareness campaign. From retailers offering advice on the right appliance and fuel, installers commissioning appliances to sweeps and service engineers offering ongoing advice. HETAS along with Woodsure and other industry organisations continue to liaise with Defra on any awareness campaigns.
- Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market
Again, both HETAS and Woodsure are playing a key role in these developments. HETAS was recently awarded the Defra contract as the Contractor to provide technical support to enable it to meet its legal obligations under the Clean Air Act 1993, with effect from 1st December 2018. For now, ensure you check the HETAS approved fuels list for solid mineral fuels, Woodsure for woodfuels along with the manufacturer’s instructions for specific advice on what to burn.
HETAS will continue to update our registrants through our monthly newsletters and Technical Bulletins, all of which are available in the Technical Area of the website. We do expect further details on this strategy over the coming months, make sure you stay tuned to the website and newsletters for further updates.