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New Firewood Regulations Explained

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New Firewood Regulations Explained

Many solid wood stove owners have been rather concerned lately over the government proposal to ban certain fuels for the solid fuel market. However, they is no need to be unduly concerned.

With headlines such as 'Wood burners: Most polluting fuels to be banned in the home' and statements such as 'Owners of wood burners, stoves and open fires will no longer be able to buy house coal or wet wood, under a ban to be rolled out from next year.', is it any wonder home owners are getting worried?

Sales of the two most polluting fuels will be phased out in England to help cut air pollution, the government has stated in a recent press release.

Bags of logs sold in DIY stores, garden centres and most frequently on the forecourts of petrol stations often contain wet wood. Wood that has a high moisture content will produce more pollution and smoke.

The government will urge the public to move over to cleaner alternatives. The government said wood burning stoves and coal fires are the largest source of fine particulate matter, small particles of air pollution which find their way into the lungs and blood. Particulate matter is one of several pollutants caused by industrial, domestic and traffic sources. So is this the end of the wood burning stove?

Solid fuel stove owners: Don't panic!

The way the governments report has be interpreted by the media is a little misleading. The government are not going to ban solid fuel stoves, simply the types of fuel that generate the most pollution.

Wet wood is the main problem and all that is required to get around this issue is to ensure that the wood is dried, or seasoned as it is known, prior to burning.

All too often, we will buy a bag from the garage forecourt as we are busy and we want a quick and easy solution. However, this wood has a high moisture level and is not the best wood to burn. It will produce more smoke and release more particulate matter than wood that has been seasoned correctly.

What the proposed changes will mean

Sales of bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021, and the sale of loose house coal direct to customers will end by 2023.

Sales of wet wood in small units of less than 2m cube, will be phased out from February 2021. Wet wood in volumes greater than 2m cube will also have to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning. Manufacturers of solid fuels will also need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

Just to clarify, the government is not banning wood or coal burning stoves.

Get collecting, storing and seasoning early

Buying a bag of firewood from the local store can be easy, but it will not be the cheapest option and certainly not the healthiest either.

Try to get hold of wood at every chance and neatly stack it undercover, but with a good level of air circulation to prevent mould growth and within six months to a year, you will have wood that is perfect for burning.

This time scale may sound too long, but if you prepare in advance and rotate your stocks of firewood, it will be healthier for you, your neighbours and better for the environment. It really just takes a little forethought to achieve.

Wood can be dried in a kiln or in the air, and then stored undercover. Many people collect cut trees or fallen branches for their solid fuel stoves and while these will be green, a term used for wet wood, they can be stored to season in readiness for the solid fuel stove.

The wood burning stove is still a popular choice for heating

Open fires and wood burning stoves have risen in popularity over recent years, offering an additional form of heating for many households in both urban and rural areas, and possibly the sole heat source for some.

Around 1.5million homes use wood for fuel across the United Kingdom, however burning wet wood and coal in open fires and stoves makes up 38% of the United Kingdoms emissions of harmful particulate matter. It has been estimated that when the wrong type of fuel is burnt, a wood burning stove can emit more particles per hour than a diesel truck.

So what is wet and dry firewood?

Wet wood, also known as green or unseasoned wood, is often sold in nets on garage forecourts and DIY stores. It contains moisture which, when burned, creates more smoke and harmful particles of air pollution than dry wood does. Wet wood also damages chimneys by allowing tar and soot to build up, increasing the potential for a chimney fire to occur.

Dry or seasoned wood, which has been dried out, often in a kiln, has a moisture content of 20% or less. As long as the moisure content of your firewood is below 20%, it will be good for burning. You can buy a moisture meter at many DIY stores and timber merchants so that you can test the moisture content out for yourself.

Government officials said the phase out will give the public and suppliers time to use up stocks and move to cleaner alternatives, such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels.

These alternatives produce far less smoke and pollution, and are cheaper and more efficient to burn. Wood briquettes, made from compressed dry sawdust and wood chips, are one example of an alternative fuel.

If you do have a good supply of wood, that just happens to be wet, simply store it correctly undercover with a good air flow in the garden and within six months to a year you will have perfect wood for burning in your solid fuel stove.

So as you can see, the government merely wants to clean up the air by stopping the burning of bad choices of fuel, not ban the much loved solid fuel stove.


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Why not call Ansell Stoves now for a free quote

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01923 661 614, email us at info@ansellstoves.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Why not call Ansell Stoves now for a free quote

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01923 661 614, email us at info@ansellstoves.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Ansell Stoves

t. 01923 661 614 | m. 07941 282 325 | m. 07976 318 160 | Email us

t. 01923 661 614
m. 07941 282 325
m. 07976 318 160
Email us

Watford | St Albans | Bushey | Rickmansworth | Bricket Wood | Hemel Hempstead | South Oxhey

Watford | St Albans | Bushey
Rickmansworth | Bricket Wood
Hemel Hempstead | South Oxhey