The government has introduced legislation to drive cleaner alternatives to burning wood, which will affect homeowners with woodburners and multifuel stoves across the UK.
Due to environmental concerns over burning specific types of fuel, the government took action. It has confirmed that, from February 2021, homeowners will no longer be allowed to burn coal and wet wood, the two most polluting fuels, on domestic woodburners.
The announcement, made as part of the government’s Environment Bill, is designed to cut air pollution, and encourage homeowners to use cleaner alternative fuels.
The ban refers to small bags of coal and small batches of wet wood. Sales of loose house coal will be permitted until 2023, while large-scale sales of wet wood (over 2m³) for domestic use will be allowed, but will come with advice on drying out the wood to reduce harmful emissions.
Can I Still Use My Woodburner?
There is no ban on woodburners or multifuel stoves, nor open fires. And homeowners will still be able to buy wet wood to season at home, but will be encouraged to use cleaner alternatives including dry wood and manufactured solid fuels. These alternatives produce less smoke and pollution, and are more cost-effective to burn.
Wood briquettes, made from compressed dry sawdust and/or wood chips, are one example of a manufactured solid fuel. Dry wood, meanwhile, is not only beneficial from an energy efficiency perspective, but it leads to less wear and tear on your woodburner and your chimney. If you burn with dry wood, the smoke will be more dense at any given heat input rate.
Government officials have said the phase-out will give homeowners around a year to prepare to make the change, and for suppliers to use up stocks.
Similar proposals to reduce the burning of wet wood and coal are reportedly being considered in Wales and Scotland.