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Gloucestershire Business News

Tewkesbury business appointed by Defra to run Ready to Burn certification

Woodsure, the Tewkesbury-based non-profit organisation striving to raise the quality of woodfuel in the industry, has been appointed by Defra to run its Ready to Burn certification scheme.

These new regulations will underpin The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 that will come into force in England from 1 May 2021 and aim to prevent harmful pollution from the domestic burning of all solid fuels, by ensuring wood sold in volumes of up to 2m3 will need to be certified as having a moisture content of 20 per cent or less.

Suppliers selling quantities of wood over 2m3 will need to provide their customers with advice on how to store and season the fuel so that is it dry to burn.

Manufacturers of solid fuels will also be required to demonstrate their products meet smoke emission and sulphur content standards through a certification scheme. Enforcement of the legislative requirements will be undertaken by local authorities.

For the past four years, Newtown Trading Estate based Woodsure has been championing the use of less polluting dry wood and driving awareness of its certification scheme.

Labelled "Ready to Burn", the wood is verified by the non-profit organisation's independent inspectors as having a moisture content of up to 20 per cent, which means it burns with less smoke than wetter wood.

"We are incredibly pleased to be working with Defra as the official certification body for the Ready to Burn scheme," said Woodsure's CEO, Bruce Allen.

"We believe that with the additional backing and enforcement of the new Air Quality regulations, the scheme is critical in making it easy for consumers to purchase wood that is legal to use. All they need to do is look out for wood that carries the "Ready to Burn" mark and they can be confident in what they're using.

"This, along with modern clean low emissions appliances, will make a huge difference to the environmentally responsible use of solid fuels and wood for stoves and boilers. This is a significant step to reducing particulate emissions and better air quality. Businesses that are currently certified as Woodsure Ready to Burn are already supplying firewood that meets such requirements and are well placed to be ready for May next year."

From May 2021, where wood is sold in volumes under 2m3 for combustion in domestic properties the packaging must include the supplier's name, the certification number and the Ready to Burn logo as identified in the regulations, proving that the wood has a moisture content of no more than 20 per cent.

The legislation makes it possible for local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for offences without the need for a conviction.

Helen Bentley-Fox, director of Woodsure, added: "Smaller suppliers, those who supply less than 600m3 a year, will have an extra year to prepare for the regulations until May 2022. This allows for the areas where longer seasoning is required, and for them to adapt their processes and experiment with new and different ways to improve their product.

"Our team remains committed to helping all suppliers of firewood, whether large or small producers, supplier, kiln drier or seasoner, to feel supported over the next 18 months as we prepare for these changes."

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