The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 is now in place. We look at the regulations in more detail to help answer some of the more common questions.

It is worth noting that these regulations only apply to England, with consultations and plans being made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regulations also apply only to domestic premises. “Domestic premises” means premises that are used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling, including boats designed or adapted for use solely as a place of permanent habitation.

Wood

From 1st May, you can only supply or sell wood fuel in volumes of less than 2 cubic metres if it is certified as ‘Ready to Burn’. This confirms it has a moisture content of 20% or less.

The Ready to Burn certification scheme applies to:

  • firewood in single retail bags
  • firewood supplied as a bulk delivery in loose volumes of less than 2 cubic metres
  • wood briquettes in single retail bags
  • wood briquettes supplied as a bulk delivery in loose volumes of less than 2 cubic metres

Small Scale Production

Small-scale wood producers who supplied less than 600 cubic metres of wood between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021 have until 1 May 2022 to comply with the new Ready to Burn certification scheme. Contact us to express your interest in finding out more if you fall into this category of wood production.

Sales over 2 cubic metres

You do not need to get wood fuel sales of 2 cubic metres or more certified. You can include a note when you deliver the wood to explain it is dry. Suppliers who sell wood in volumes of 2 cubic metres or more must provide customers with this notice that explains how to dry, store and check the moisture of the wood before it is used, even if the wood is below 20% moisture content. This also applies to small-scale wood producers.

Sellers and retailers: storing and labelling

wood storage tips and advice on the Ready to Burn website

Wood certified as Ready to Burn has a guaranteed moisture content of 20% or less.

You must make sure you store the wood properly, so that you do not sell it to customers damaged or wet. You can do this by storing the wood indoors, off the ground or undercover. We have a handy video with some tips on storage with some additional guidance on the Ready to Burn website.

Rotate stock so that older stock is used up first.

The wood must be correctly labelled when it is sold to third-party sellers and final customers. You must make sure the following details are either attached to the wood packaging, displayed alongside it on the shelf or next to the price:

  • approved ‘Ready to Burn’ logo
  • supplier’s company name
  • unique certification number

You can check the supplier’s details and certification number through the ‘Find a Supplier’ search. Contact your supplier to ask about their certification mark and permission to use it.

If you sell online, make sure the logo for each fuel is displayed on the section of the webpage where the fuel is advertised.

Enforcement

A common question we have been getting relates to enforcement. This is covered under Part 6 of the new Regulations and identifies local authorities as the body responsible for enforcement of the Regulations. For the purposes of the regulation, “local authority” means—

  • the Common Council for the City of London;
  • London Borough Council;
  • the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
  • a county council;
  • a district council for an area in which there is no county council.

There are a number of measures available for the local authority to assist in enforcing the regulations, such as:

  1. enter a supplier’s premises at any reasonable time;
  2. inspect a supplier’s goods;
  3. make test purchases of a supplier’s goods;
  4. require a supplier to produce documents or to provide information;
  5. question a supplier or officers or employees of a supplier.

Additionally, compliance checks can be undertaken. An enforcement officer may check:

Fines

You could be fined if:

  • you sell unauthorised fuel
  • you’ve stored fuel so it has a moisture content of more than 20%
  • the fuel does not have the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo or is not labelled correctly

You could get a:

  • £300 fixed penalty fine issued by your local authority
  • fine of more than £300 depending on the severity of the offence issued by the courts

Woodsure is the only approved wood certification body appointed by Defra. Hundreds of wood producers are already certified as Ready to Burn, with hundreds more progressing through the certification process. Find your supplier using the postcode search, or verify suppliers using the WS reference code in the business checking facility.

The HETAS team is available to support applications and questions relating to manufactured solid fuels.

Both HETAS and Woodsure are working with Local Authorities across England to clarify the legislation, providing newsletters, webinars and workshops.

The full legislation is available to view on the .gov website.