Back to Certainly Blog

Wood burning stoves to be banned for new build homes in Scotland!

What does the new standard mean?

Last week the Scottish government announced in its New Build Heat Standard that it was banning the installation and use of wood burning stoves in all new build houses. This came into force on 1st April 2024, but has come completely out of the blue and has really caused a real outcry, particularly in the highlands and islands where it is absolutely vital to have provision of heating which can be used off grid and in cases of power cuts which can be often in Scotland.

The legislation no longer allows the installation of a ‘direct-emission’ heating system (one which produces more than negligible level of greenhouse gas emissions) in a new-build home or conversions. This is a ban on oil, coal, gas and wood-based heating systems.

The Response

MPs and the Stove Industry Association have asked for urgent clarification on the actual wording of the legislation as there is a clause for ‘Emergency heating’, but it seems unclear whether this would include wood burning stoves. The standard says “Emergency use means that applications for fixed heating systems can be considered if the size, complexity or heat demand means that portable solutions aren’t suitable.

The SIA has responded with a query as to how, irrespective of the “size, complexity or heat demand”, a portable solution would be effective in the event of a power cut when many portable heating solutions require electricity to function. A response awaits but there is clearly a lot of confusion and concern.

It does however clearly state that existing installations of wood burning stoves are unaffected.

This certainly has led to numerous media articles on the topic over the last week and it is hoped that with increasing pressure from consumers, stove retailers, manufacturers and MSP’s (members of Scottish Parliament) common sense will prevail, otherwise the concern from the industry is that this could be the thin edge of the wedge.

The Stove Industry Association chairman Andy Hill said ““We are concerned about the lack of clarity in the definitions given within the wording of Standard 6.11 and fully understand why residents of Scotland, particularly those in off-grid areas of the country, are deeply troubled by this new legislation.

Stove Industry Association | SIA

Is This Standard Really Needed? 

In a country where there is a plentiful supply of local, sustainable wood fuel we question why the option to install a highly efficient, complementary, and low carbon heat source has been removed, especially when the aim of the legislation is to reduce carbon emissions from domestic heating.

It is hugely detrimental to the local economy, consumer choice and carbon reduction targets to restrict the use of wood burning stoves in new build properties. Wood has the lowest carbon emissions factor of any domestic heating fuel, and modern stove appliances operate highly efficiently and with minimal emissions” (up to 90% reduction in emissions compared to an open fire)

What seems quite extraordinary is that whilst new-builds face a ban, the Scottish government’s consultation on a new Heat in Buildings Bill, which affect existing homes, contemplates the continuing use of biomass in certain conditions. “We recognise that as a renewable, and potentially net zero, energy source, bioenergy may represent the best option to help decarbonise some homes” the consultation paper states – “Do you agree that the use of bioenergy should continue to be permitted in certain circumstances?” the consultation which closed last month asks.  (ref: Andy Wightman article. 19th Apr Holyrood)


Read the Stove Industry Alliance Press Release


Nic Snell, 26th April 2024


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published