Changes to sale of domestic solid fuels take effect

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Restrictions on the sale of coal, wet wood and manufactured solid fuels for burning in the home have come into force from 1 May.

People with log burners and open fires can still use them, but will be required to buy cleaner alternative fuels such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels which produce less smoke.

Sales of coal and wet wood for household burning are being phased out to cut harmful pollution, as burning at home, particularly with traditional house coal or wet wood, is a major source of the pollutant PM2.5, which has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most serious air pollutant for human health.

“This legislation marks the latest step in delivering on the challenges we set ourselves in our Clean Air Strategy, making sure that both we and future generations can breathe cleaner air,” Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said.

Sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2 cubic metres are now unlawful and wet wood in larger volumes must be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning.

All manufactured solid fuels must now have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

In addition, a new certification scheme will see products certified and labelled by suppliers to ensure that they can be easily identified, and retail outlets will only able to sell fuel that is accompanied by the correct label.

All manufactured solid fuels must now be certified for use to be legally sold, with the exception of ‘exempt’ fuels. Wood sold in volumes under 2 cubic metres must be certified as ‘Ready to Burn’.

To be sold correctly, the approved Ready to Burn logo must be displayed along with the manufacturer details, and unique certification number for solid fuels and wood. This should either be attached to the packaging or can be displayed at point of sale.

The unauthorized sale of domestic burning fuels, or incorrect labeling of the fuel, could attract a £300 fixed penalty notice (FPN) issued by the local authority or a more substantial fine issued by the courts.

Advice from the ACS on the topic can be seen here.