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Ban on coal for domestic fires: Facts

YOU have probably seen headlines this past week about the Government banning the sale of certain types of fuel for wood burning stoves.

Please don’t be mistaken – wood burning stoves are NOT being banned. What is happening is that burning coal and wet wood will be illegal by 2023. You will still be able to buy dry wood and manufactured solid fuel for your woodburner. You will still be able to use your stove and enjoy indoor fires.

Coal and wet wood are being banned because these two sources are blamed for producing pollutants called PM2.5 – and the move is just confirmation of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy published in January 2019. These tiny PM2.5 particles can enter the body and harm the lungs and blood. Children and older people can be particularly badly affected.

Defra says: “To help improve the air we breathe and ensure householders choose cleaner fuels, sales of coal and wet wood – the two most polluting fuels – will be phased out between 2021 and 2023, giving the public and suppliers time to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels. These not only produce less smoke and pollution than wet wood or coals, but are also cheaper and more efficient to burn.”

So… good news. You can still enjoy your indoor fire! Just make sure you plan appropriately to buy and burn dry wood only (moisture content of 20 per cent or less, and use a moisture thermometer if you’re not sure) or other appropriate clean fuel.

If you want to receive professional advice and you live in the Tunbridge Wells or wider Kent area – get in touch with James the Sweep, Master Chimney Sweep for the county. James is happy to give free advice about sourcing the appropriate fuel, correct wood burning techniques (better for your health, better for the environment and better for your pocket!) and he also offers a comprehensive chimney sweeping service, to give you peace of mind.

Please note:-

Bagged traditional house coal sales will be phased out by February 2021.

Loose coal sold direct to customers via approved coal merchanets will be stopped by February 2023.

Wet wood sales (units under 2m3) will be restricted from February 2021. Then wet wood sold larger than this size will carry advice on properly drying the wood.

Manufactured solid fuels will also be limited, needing a very lower sulphur content and minimal smoke.

The Government has previously said that chimney sweeping is a very important part for stopping air pollution.