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

We all breathe the same air

19 December, 2017


    BurnRight wood burning and air pollution consumer awareness campaign.

    All consumer and trade information is now hosted at:

    Poor air quality is an issue for everyone – we all breathe the same air. The issue of air quality from domestic burning is an issue for the whole solid fuel industry.

    The issue

    You may have seen media reports concerning air quality issues and perhaps you’ve had customers asking questions. What did you tell them?  The government has recently (Feb ’18) completed the “Call for Evidence” on domestic burning. Soon they will publish their “Clean Air Strategy” There are suggestions that all wood burning could be banned in some city areas. Possible changes to wood fuel supply and perhaps changes to local enforcement powers. Regardless of what happens changes are likely and will probably affect us all, regardless of where you live. Although this is a threat, it’s also a big opportunity.

    Regardless of where you live or who your customers are, you can make a big difference to your local air quality.

    Please see the information and guidance below. It is likely to affect your business in some way.

    • Background to the problem
    • What you can do and how to do it
    • Links to consumer information 
    • Downloads – “Press release” and “Wood as fuel” information


    The Guild has been working with Defra and we’ve produced the consumer awareness information “We all breathe the same air” It is aimed directly at your customers. This information is the start of a major ongoing campaign. You’ll need to understand it and know what to do because you are the most important link between the information and the wood burning public.

    This is a unique opportunity to highlight your professionalism to your customers and your local community. You will save them money, make them safer and reduce unnecessary pollution in your area. Your business, our industry and our wider society will all benefit.

    If wood is burned at low temperature, it wastes fuel and it contributes to air pollution. There are several factors which influence the burning temperature and you can learn more by downloading the “Wood as Fuel” information. The greatest cause of low temperature burning is when stove users close the air supply down too much.

    Air quality - tar in clearviewThe stove pictured here can burn very cleanly but this one had the air control closed off too much by the user – you’ve all seen it many times. There are 100’s of thousands of stoves like this already installed. Many are capable of having the air controls shut off too much, leading to wasted fuel, increased tar deposits and unnecessary pollution. We can’t blame the consumer because they generally don’t even know there is a problem, let alone realise they might be part of the problem. And even if they are aware, what should they do about it?

    Stoves will become much more efficient in the future. In the meantime there are 100’s of thousands of existing stoves and we need to do something about the way our customers use them. I say we, but this really means you, each and every one. There is only one option to get the job done and that is through consumer awareness and education. If we fail to make a difference we will all pay the price.

    Luckily there is a really big upside for us if we get the right message across.

    Professional sweeps like you gain a unique insight into the appliances, the chimneys, the fuels and the effect that the appliance user has on combustion. We are the only group with the skills, opportunity and motivation to influence our customer burning habits. Only we can show consumers how to better operate their stoves, saving fuel (money), decreasing tar deposits and reducing unnecessary air pollution.

    What to do and how to do it

    The BurnRight campaign will require action from us all. Getting the correct information to every consumer is the only way. It will actually require action from all professional sweeps but Guild members will start it off. It will then be spread to the rest of the industry. The Guild and others will promote the information wherever we can but only you can give it to your customers with the right message.

    Downloads and Links

    Go to for all campaign information

    The Future

    This campaign is very important. Many Guild members already help their customers with correct burning advice but the BurnRight campaign with it’s simple consumer information and videos will make a big difference.

    If we are successful it will turn the problem around and could save our industry from set-backs. Guild sweeps have the highest standards and are the most professional group of chimney sweeps in the country. We now have some great tools to get us started.

    There are other issues involved with this problem – the burning of wood and coal in Smoke Control Areas is a part of the problem. Politicians / councils are confusing this with stove use.  We will produce specific consumer information for you to give to customers in Smoke Control Areas.

    A few weeks after the start of this campaign, sweeps from any organisation will be invited to join. They will be supplied with the same information and guidance. The issue is far too important to limit action to any one group and we can’t do it all on our own.


      What our members say…

      Ali Swainston

      “During my research I had come across some forum talk online which was very negative about the cost of the Guild’s training program. I guess it does seem like a lot of money to start with but, like most things, there is more to it than meets the eye and you get a lot more […]

      Ali Swainston (ISIS Chimney Care)
      Read More

      Trade Partners