Staying the right side of the law – what exactly are the rules for wood fuel suppliers?
Fact checking – see the end of this article for links to the government documents.
From 1st May this year (2022) the law in England for smaller scale wood fuel suppliers is changing. The new law has been in place for larger suppliers since last year. In May, everyone supplying less than 2 cubic meters of wood fuel is legally obliged to be part of the ‘Ready to Burn’ certification scheme which gives an assurance of 20% moisture or less. Wales, N. Ireland and Scotland are currently reviewing their situations.
Many wood fuel suppliers will already have become certified, particularly if they intend to supply smaller volumes, but certainly not all of them. Sweeps will understand the Ready to Burn scheme details as they discuss these issues with their customers daily, but our research suggests that some of the smaller part-time log dealers still don’t know about the changes! Others have heard something but don’t fully understand.
Suppliers have two choices: If dealers want to supply less than 2 cubic meters, they need to get certified and join the Ready to Burn scheme to comply with the law. Or they can elect to only supply larger loads of 2 cubic meters or more. If they elect to only supply larger loads, they legally need to issue a ‘Statutory Guidance Notice’ to the customer. This can be a basic flyer that explains how to dry, store and check the moisture of the wood before it is used. The official wording for the notice must be used.
Most sweeps have a list of trusted log dealers for supplying good quality dry wood. Have you spoken to your local suppliers about the changes? It would be unfortunate if some fell foul of the rules simply because they don’t know. I’ve been talking to small log dealers near me to make them aware of their legal responsibilities come May, and help them decide what to do. Some have been grateful for the information; one was considering packing up as he thought it was all too much trouble. Now he’s happy to continue just delivering larger loads. As a local sweep, many local dealers will know of you and may appreciate some information.
The exact wording of the Statutory Guidance Notice must be used. This information must be passed to the customer if a supplier is supplying 2 cubic meters or more but is not certified under the Ready to Burn scheme.
Statutory Notice wording: “This wood is not suitable for burning until it has been dried. You should not burn wood until it has a moisture content of 20% or less.
“Wet wood contains moisture which creates smoke and harmful particulates when burnt. As well as being harmful to your health and the environment, this can damage your stove and chimney and is an inefficient way to heat your home. Dry it in a sunny, well-aired space for at least two years, keeping rain off in the winter.
Links to official documents:
Your local professional chimney sweep will have great advice on sourcing, storing and using your wood fuel. Find them at: www.findachimneysweep.co.uk