Wood burners and open fires have been used as a great heating source for many years by households across the country, with changes in design making them more efficient. But now, the UK government is targeting the fuel you put in your burner or on your fire, so here's what you need to know.
About the new legislation
The first regulations on what people can burn in their homes are being brought in since the Clean Air Acts of the 1950s. The government has clarified that they are not placing a ban on wood-burning stoves as around 10% of the population rely on them for heat in the winter, but they will be introducing new legislation on the types of fuel you are permitted to use in your wood burner.
The government will gradually phase out the sale of wet wood and coal from May 2021. The government hopes to cut down air pollution over the next ten years as they estimate wood burners are a leading release point of small pollution particles under 2.5 microns wide, which can affect people's health. The government says people will now have to buy dry, kiln-dried or barn dried wood, which produces less smoke. Wet wood is cheaper to buy because it is unseasoned but this green wood produces more pollution and does not burn as cleanly as dry wood. Dry wood has a lower amount of moisture, often 20% or less, producing a cleaner burn.
The main three rule changes are:
1. Any wet, green wood sold in small quantities (less than 2 sq metres) would violate the new rules and therefore can't be sold to customers. This also includes bags of traditional house coal.
2. Green wood sold in large quantities (more than 2 sq metres) must have drying instructions for the customer.
3. Solid fuels must meet regulations on emissions released from burning, including low amounts of sulphur and smoke.
The future of what fuels you can burn in your wood burner or on your open fire is changing, but existing stock can still be sold off and with advancements in filter systems being developed for wood burners. Maybe the rules will change again in the near future, allowing a wider range of fuels to be burned in the home.