24 February 2020
Burning of wet wood & coal to be banned
Over the weekend we have received many questions in response to the recent news about the ban on coal and wet wood burning. Last week saw DEFRA’s release of the Government response to a Consultation on the burning of cleaner fuels. As a result, many conflicting headlines were published, leading to confusion. Below is an overview of the new proposals.
Wet wood burning
From May 2021, all wood sold to consumers in quantities of less than 2㎥ will need to have moisture content of 20% or less. Quantities of more than 2㎥ will be required to come with advice on how to store and dry the wood ready for burning at a later date.
Burning wet wood releases twice as much smoke and less heat than burning seasoned hardwood or kiln dried logs. Therefore, wet logs are more polluting, less effective and dangerous due to the build up of chemicals in the chimney.
These rules for wood are designed to regulate the sale of wet log nets often found at garages and DIY stores, but does also include supplies of bulk bags and trailer loads. It will also mean that retailers must store the wood correctly to ensure it’s dry at the point of sale.
Also in May 2021 a ban on the burning of pre-packaged house coal from all retailers will be implemented. Following this, 2 years later there will be a ban on loose coal sales direct from coal merchants to consumers. The idea behind this is to allow residents in ‘fuel poverty’ areas, who are solely reliant on coal to heat their homes, to transition to other energy sources ie. manufactured solid fuels.
Manufactured solid fuels
May 2021 will also see the extension of current sulphur and smoke emission limits currently applied to Smoke Control Areas. These limits will be extended nationwide.
Manufactured solid fuels, such as Homefire Smokeless coal, contain controlled sulphur contents and also produce less smoke when burning than traditional house coal. In addition, manufactured solid fuels are deemed more efficient than house coal.
What does this mean for us?
As a business, we welcome this news. Burning dry wood and manufactured solid fuels are far less polluting. They also provide more heat and keeps your fireplace and chimney cleaner than wet wood and house coal.
We will no longer be able to sell house coal after May 2021. However we will still be able to sell our Homefire Smokeless coal.
Our kiln dried logs are already delivered and sold with moisture content of 20% or less so will be unaffected.
Our seasoned logs are currently around 20% moisture content and even less than 20% moisture during dry and sunny periods. Due to seasoned logs having a lower carbon footprint than kiln dried logs, we are working on enhancing our drying process for the seasoned logs to ensure they are under 20% year-round. Burning fuel and use of electricity powers the kilns used for drying kiln dried logs. However, seasoned logs are air-dried hence a lower carbon footprint. To improve our drying process for seasoned logs we are already investing in more boxes to allow extra drying time.
To summarise, the bans on burning wet wood and coal will be coming into force May 2021. These new rules have been introduced in a bid to improve air quality. They also negate the need for buying pricey kiln dried logs with their high carbon footprint.
We don’t need to stop burning and enjoying our fires! Instead, we need to ensure we use ‘cleaner’ fuels like dry wood and low sulphur smokeless coal.