Are wood-burning stoves being banned in the UK?

What is the ban about?

In England, as of January 2021, the use of “polluting fuels” such as wet wood and house coal used indoors to help heat homes is being banned in order to reduce pollution. It will apply to England and not to other parts of the UK.

There are thought to be about 2.5 million homes using solid fuel fires or stoves. The aim is to encourage people to move on to low sulphur smokeless fuels and dried wood rather than the more harmful wet wood and coal.

The new law is covered under “The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuel Standards) (England) Regulations 2020.” and the under section 87 of the Environment Act 1995 (c. 25). This means that in essence, wet wood will not be able to be used as it will no longer be on sale in England.

The polluting fuels ban is not banning wood-burning stoves but instead just trying to encourage people to use fuel which is better for the environment.

What is wet wood? What firewood should I use for my wood-fired hot tub?

Wet wood is defined as any wood having a moisture content of at least 20%. Dry wood anything below 20%. If you have ever put wet logs on a bonfire you will have seen that the amount of smoke that is produced can be quite significant.  By using wood with little moisture, the amount of smoke is reduced and this helps to keep air pollution lower.

Dry wood is also better than wet wood as it burns much more efficiently. Dry wood typically burns with 4.5 kWh of energy for every kilogram as opposed to wet wood which is closer to 1 KWh. We recommend using hardwood or hardwood and softwood mix as the best fuel for your wood-fired hot tub stove.

The new regulations also include the introduction of the Woodsure “Ready to Burn” scheme which guarantees dry wood is of good quality. The wood must hold this “Ready to Burn” mark as indicated in the regulations before it can be sold. Therefore it is best to check that any wood you buy is labelled as such.