Stricter rules for selling firewood – what you need to know


Firewood sales are to be regulated to ban the burning of wet wood and help the UK government meet its air pollution ambitions.

By May 2022, all sales of firewood in England of 2m3 or less must have a moisture content of 20% or less in order to be sold. This rule is already in place for large suppliers.

The legislation entered into force on May 1, 2021 for those who sell more than 600 m3 per year; all the firewood they sell in volumes less than 2 m3 must be certified “ready to burn”.

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Those who sell less than 600 m3 have until April 30, 2022 to comply with the new certification scheme.

Woodsure is a Tewkesbury-based nonprofit appointed by Defra to manage the Ready to Burn label.

Its director Helen Bentley-Fox said that through the Clean Air Strategy 2019, the government has committed to reducing particulate matter emissions in the UK by 46% by 2030.

An explicit link has been made between burning wet wood and poor air quality, as emissions from wet wood are approximately five times those from burning firewood with a moisture content of 20% or less. .

The rules initially only apply in England, but Wales and Scotland are considering a similar strategy.

Ready to burn certification

The Ready to Burn certification program covers all sales of less than 2m3. This threshold was chosen because beyond that, customers are likely to have the option of storing and drying the wood, says Ms. Bentley-Fox.

“At less than 2 cubic meters, we expect the customer to want to use the fuel immediately, so it is essential that the fuel they use is certified and labeled Ready to Burn,” she says.

Woodsure is keen to minimize the administrative burden of legislation, especially for those who produce small quantities, such as farmers, Bentley-Fox said.

He is working with the Small Woods Association and others to put in place a group program for those who provide less than 600 m3 per year, to ensure that compliance is not prohibitive for their business.

How to obtain accreditation to continue selling wood?

Submit an application to join Ready to Burn. You will need to provide a representative sample of the wood you are selling and evidence of how you source the wood and control its moisture content.

Woodsure will also need the location of the stores and the names of any outlets and websites that sell your firewood.

Program fees are based on volume sold, so previous year’s annual sales figures will be needed with demand.

How much will it cost me?

It depends on the sales volume. There is an application fee of £ 102 and an annual registration fee of £ 321, both before VAT. The annual fee includes a routine site audit, listing, fuel test, and certification.

Point-of-sale checks are also needed, costing between £ 112 and £ 1,020 for businesses selling direct to customers, or more if the transaction is over 20,000m3.

For businesses selling through retail outlets the fees are between £ 224 and £ 2,040, even higher for sales over 20,000m3.

For those producing very small quantities, where the cost of joining Ready to Burn as an individual would be prohibitive, Woodsure is piloting group programs, which he says will reduce the cost of membership to less than $ 100. £.

Will I need to invest in new equipment to be compliant?

A moisture meter is useful, while for businesses in more humid areas, covered storage may be required. Some suppliers have invested in tunnels to speed up the drying process.

Many suppliers can achieve a moisture content of 20% or less without changing their practices or adjusting the processes a bit, Woodsure explains.

Who enforces the rules?

The local authorities are responsible for this. Law enforcement officers can perform spot checks, including on how wood is stored and to ensure customers are receiving the correct drying information.

What if I am found to be in violation of the rules?

Those found selling unauthorized or mislabeled fuel face a flat-rate fine of £ 300.

Serious breaches could lead to prosecution, potentially leading to higher fines.

Why are small suppliers given more time to comply?

This targets areas where longer seasoning is needed and gives suppliers time to adapt processes and experiment with different ways to improve their product.

More information can be found on the Woodsure website, E-mail or call 01684 278 188.



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