Is there a ban on wood stoves?
No doubt you will have all seen some misleading headlines in recent months about a possible ban on wood stoves. Here, we identify the truth behind the headlines.
Firstly, although there were reports that the worst wood burning stoves would be banned, this is not actually correct. What Defra do say in their Clean Air Strategy is that they “will ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022”. What they mean by this is that the government will adopt and enforce the forthcoming Ecodesign requirements for wood burning stoves in 2022. This is not a ban, it is the Implementation of well signposted and known new tighter regulations. This happens across all product and industry sectors as a matter of course.
Recent publicity has tended to equate emissions from wood burning with emissions from wood burning stoves. Government statistics have indicated that nationally 40% of wood is burnt on open fires. This rises to 70% when it comes to London, despite the fact that burning wood on an open fire is not permitted under the current Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Strategy clearly recognises that all wood burning is not the same. SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves are designed using improved burn technology, developed by the stove manufacturers to produce 90% fewer emissions than an open fire and 80% fewer emissions than some older stoves.
Within Defra’s Clean Air Strategy published on 22nd May 2018 the Environment Secretary Michael Gove published a Clean Air Strategy which aims to cut air pollution and save lives, backed up through new primary legislation. Here we demystify the strategy and look beyond the misleading headlines.
The new strategy is a key part of Defra’s 25 Year Plan to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. HETAS, Woodsure and The Stove Industry Alliance have all been consulting with Defra for some time now and once again Defra has clarified they are not looking to ban stoves. The publication of Defra’s final version of the Clean Air Strategy 2019 outlines ambitions relating to reducing air pollution in the round, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy. In this strategy, they set a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals and summarise actions to reduce emissions from domestic burning, clearly identifying there is no intention to ban wood burning stoves.
Outlines to reduce emissions from domestic burning shown in section 6 of the report Defra’s clean air strategy state:
We will legislate to prohibit sale of the most polluting fuels
We will ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022
We will make changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce
We will give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution
We will work across government to look at opportunities to align our work on air quality, cleangrowth and fuel poverty in future policy design
We will develop a dedicated communications campaign targeted at domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental impact of their actions awareness of the environmental impact of their actions
We will work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering