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How Does The DEFRA Clean Air Strategy Affect You?

With the price of gas and electricity increasing at an alarming rate, you wouldn’t be the first person to consider investing in a wood-burning stove or open fire for your home. In this article, we explore DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy and explain how it may affect your plans. 

What is the DEFRA Clean Air Strategy?

It’s a document that was published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2019. It ‘sets out the case for action and demonstrates this government’s determination to improve our air quality.’

The Strategy explains the government’s ambitions to make improvements, with strong emphasis on the impact of air pollution on public health. ‘[It is] the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity. It makes us more susceptible to respiratory infections and other illness,’ states the document.

It goes on to highlight the threats posed by particulate matter to our health. These small particles can enter our bloodstream through our lungs and affect our hearts, brains and other organs. The aim is to reduce these emissions by 46% by 2030 – and one of the primary sources is open fires and stoves, which account for 38% of the UK’s particulate emissions. 

The document also defines concerns around sulphur dioxide emissions, which are created by burning domestic coal, which can result in asthma and respiratory conditions. 

As a result, the Clean Air Strategy has set out stricter guidelines for the domestic burning of solid fuels, such as those used in wood-burning stoves and open fires. 

What does it mean for owners of wood-burning stoves and open fires?

If you already own one, the changes will be minimal. You won’t be forced to change your heating system. However, all stoves sold from May 2022 have to comply with stricter emission guidelines and burn fuel more efficiently. Ultimately this is a benefit for you, because it means your fuel goes further!

The rules also restrict the sale of solid fuels to clean fuels, which burn more efficiently while emitting fewer particulates and less smoke. As a result, wet and unseasoned wood will become less available, while the use of dry wood and low-sulphur manufactured solid fuel will be encouraged.

The sale of house coal has also been banned, although existing supplies can be used until May 2023 (providing you don’t live in a Smoke Control Area). From May 2023, the burning of house coal will be banned across the UK.   

Planning to add a wood-burning stove to your home?

You don’t need to speak to your insurer or broker unless you live in a thatched or non-standard property. If you’re thinking about adding one and arrange your insurance with us, speak to the team today

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