UPDATE: DEFRA WET WOOD AND HOUSE COAL BAN
Plans to phase out sales of the most polluting solid fuels, namely house coal and wet wood, have been confirmed as part of a drive to reduce the pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and blood and cause health problems.
As many of you have written to us about what this means for your own fuel supplies, we have written answers to the most common questions here:
What does the DEFRA ban say?
DEFRA finalised their decision on 21 February 2020 that sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2m3 will be phased out by February 2021, as well as the sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants by February 2023. Units of firewood over 2m3 will have special guidelines applied at the point of sale. Full details of the consultation can be read here.
What does DEFRA mean by “wet wood” and does this affect Luxury Wood’s products?
DEFRA defines “Wet Wood” as firewood with a moisture content of 20% or more. Luxury Wood has always and only sold kiln dried firewood with a moisture content of below 20% (commonly as low as 12-16%) so our firewood products are not affected by the ban.
What about the heat logs and pellets I buy from Luxury Wood?
Our heat logs and wood pellets are under 10% moisture as standard, so they are not affected by the ban.
Can I still buy house coal from Luxury Wood?
No. We phased at sales of house coal in 2018 in anticipation of the new regulations.
Why the emphasis on burning dry wood all of a sudden?
It has been known for a long time that dry wood fuels produce much less pollution than wet firewood and house coal. In addition, wet wood produces less heat so it is not economical to burn. Current estimates are that kiln dried wood produces up to double the amount of heat that wetter wood can provide.
In addition, smoke produced by burning low quality fuels can severely damage stoves and flue pipes, increasing the risk of chimney fires. The primary concern of DEFRA and the UK government however, is dispersion of PM2.5 particles, which are a known carcinogen.
Recent government guidance suggests that wet or poorly seasoned wood releases four times the amount of PM2.5 particles that firewood under 20% moisture releases.