Certainly Wood started in 2005 and when we began our journey we were very much breaking new ground in that no one had ever heard of kiln dried firewood. I remember our local stove distributor saying how good our wood was and that 80% of stove problems were caused by using wet wood. We felt we could be onto something, but at no point did I ever imagine that 15 years later, Defra would be running a ‘Burn Better’ advertising campaign to promote the use of kiln dried logs to ensure we have a better environment!!
As you will have read either in previous blogs or in the press, domestic wood burning has received a lot of bad press over the last few years but the stove industry has reacted extremely positively not only in developing more efficient stoves, but ones that will even go above and beyond the new European Ecodesign standards set for stoves in terms of emissions. The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has set up clearSkies which is an independent emissions and energy performance certification scheme for solid fuel stoves and fireplaces and this provides the consumer with the confidence that stoves certified through this scheme will be the most efficient stoves you can buy.
But of course, it’s not just the stove efficiency that is important, it’s the fuel too and for many years this has really gone unnoticed from a generally unregulated industry, certainly in terms of firewood anyway. Solid fuel has been more regulated with smokeless fuels etc, but it’s the coal that contains high levels of sulphur that have come under the spotlight and hence will be phased out between 2021 and 2023.
Firewood supplies are traditionally from a cottage industry and until now, the industry has been completely unregulated and fuel quality has been poor, but with undeniable evidence to show that burning wet wood produces more harmful particulate emissions, Defra will be banning the sale of wet wood in units of under 2m3 from the Spring of 2021, although smaller suppliers will have additional time to comply.
So, what’s Defra's Burn Better campaign all about? It will focus on how solid fuel and firewood users can make small changes to their burning habits to improve air quality and reduce the environmental impact. Not only is it about choosing the right fuels, but also encouraging proper maintenance of appliances such as chimney sweeping at least once a year.
The target audience for the campaign is primarily people who use open fires or stoves in their homes for aesthetic or supplementary heating purposes as opposed to those who rely on these appliances for their primary heating source.
Defra will be working with Hetas and the Solid Fuel Association to help spread the word, but we, along with the SIA and clearSkies are keen to support the initiative. There will be media coverage during December encouraging the target audience to choose the correct fuels and maintain appliances correctly.
Much of the Burn Better campaign coverage will be via social media, in particular Twitter and Facebook so look out for images like this below and help to spread the word.
With better stoves and the right fuel we can all be confident that we are using a truly sustainable and renewable fuel and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and minimising particulate emissions.