The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
Powering Chimney Sweeping into the 21st Century

Government Clean Air Strategy 2019 – Chimney Sweeps can ‘help consumers get it right’

20 January, 2019



FALSE and  completely misleading  TV and newspaper reports have been everywhere since the launch of the Government Clean Air Strategy. Stoves and fires are not about to be banned. Wood will continue be used as a fuel. If you’d like some actual facts as opposed to some journalistic fantasy then please look at the Strategy 2019 here. It’s a grown up document and makes interesting reading, see pages 58-63.

As far as domestic burning and the strategy goes:

CHIMNEY sweeping and the proper use of stoves are seen as key weapons in continuing to improve air quality. That’s the view of Defra in the publication of its ‘Clean Air Strategy 2019′ this week.

The strategy lauded the role of chimney sweeps and the BurnRight campaign It is very encouraging to see Defra echoing BurnRight campaign documents and ideas:

Defra says: “The way in which we use our stoves can have a big impact on air quality and how long the chimney and stove will last. A local professional sweep can help consumers get it right, ensuring that they get the most from their stoves and provide advice on optimum operation. This can help save money and avoid chimney fires. It is recommended that a chimney is swept twice a year.”

Lawson Wight, chairman of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, agreed with Defra’s view that chimney sweeps had a vital task to help implement the strategy.

He said: “It’s great news that the government’s clean air strategy has now been published. It’s helpful too as the Guild works with other trade associations and industry bodies to promote cleaner air.

“As Defra says, professional sweeps are best placed to give advice on proper stove use and chimney care. Many sweeps already make a difference by showing users how to operate their fires more efficiently and reducing pollution but  we can very easily do so much more. Pointing consumers toward good sources of dry wood and other fuels also helps a lot and even something simple like replacing a worn rope around a stove door will improve efficiency and reduce emissions. 

“We will increase our support for the BurnRight campaign and look forward to hearing more from the Government about any legislative changes. As the Government, the Guild and other authorities work together, I believe the future is positive for both the sweeping trade and the well-being of consumers.”

The Defra statement says: “We will legislate to prohibit the 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.” 

Regardless of any changes to fuels and stoves, sweeps will still be visiting their customer next year. We look forward to helping our customers “Get it Right”.

A new EU Ecodesign will come into effect in 2022 requiring all new stoves to meet higher standards for emissions. As sweeps we’d like to see all stoves and fuels as efficient as possible. After all, the cleaner they burn, the easier our job is and the cleaner our air will be. 

Lawson Wight said: “As a direct result of our efforts, many Guild members and other sweeps contributed to the Clean Air Strategy consultation last summer. You can see the results here – Defra summary of responses the chimney sweep bit is on page 51.”

Defra adds: “We will be taking the evidence  and views submitted from the Fuels consultation to develop a final proposal for legislative changes.”

Defra also confirmed that not all forms of domestic burning are ‘equally polluting’. Proper use of a stove or fireplace, the types of fuel used, all had different impacts on pollution. Benefits were significant for using a ‘new efficient appliance’, as opposed to an old stove or open fire. 

Defra said: “Using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference.”

Guild chairman Lawson Wight summarised these last points: “So it’s onwards and upwards when it comes to informing and educating our sweeping customers on every aspect of their fire and fuel, it’s difficult to place a value on good advice”.

Support the campaign at: 


    What our members say…

    Richard Lawson

    “I found the course to be very knowledgeable. Being a Guild sweep has given me greater confidence when going to customer’s homes and this has enabled me to become a HETAS approved chimney sweep.”

    Richard Lawson (Hexham Chimney Sweeps)
    Read More

    Trade Partners