Lancaster-based solid fuel specialist, Logs Direct, has contributed to a Government consultation process that has focused on the increasing environmental issue of smog, which is badly affecting London and also becoming an issue in other cities.
Logs Direct’s sales director and wood expert, Stephen Talbot, attended meetings with minister, Thérèse Coffey, to help guide the thinking and discuss the real crux of the issue – the burning of unsuitable and wet wood in woodburners and other appliances, sales of which have rocketed in recent years.
The result has been the creation of a solution that should ensure that homeowners only burn wood that will not emit acrid smoke and particulate emissions that are harmful to the environment and affect the quality of air and life within Britain’s inner cities.
Logs Direct had clear views on the issue, as it has only ever sold kiln-dried and fully seasoned logs, which greatly reduce emissions and are specifically designed for use in modern stoves. It, and nine other companies, have all joined a woodfuel accreditation scheme called Woodsure, to back a new initiative that now sees wood that can be trusted sold as ‘Ready to Burn’ wood. This replaces the former terminology that focused on ‘seasoned’ wood, which was open to ambiguous interpretation and was confusing for the consumer.
The Woodsure initiative launched at the Hearth & Home exhibition in June. A certification mark has been created for the use of suppliers that sell ‘Ready to Burn’ wood and suppliers and consumers should now be looking out for, and buying, only that wood which carries the Ready to Burn mark. The initiative is being supported by HETAS and the Stove Industry Alliance and is already in force.
Each Woodsure member has their own code, for use on their products. All members will be audited and their products tested, to ensure that their wood remains ‘Ready to Burn’ and has a moisture content of less than 20 per cent. This applies to firewood, wood chip, pellets, briquettes and hog fuel.
Whilst it is not yet clear what action will be taken when non-certificated suppliers sell wet wood and homeowners burn non-accredited wood, there are clear advantages for the consumer. Ready to Burn wood will be of the right size and quality for appliance use, avoiding blockages and breakdowns that could result from using the wrong wood. It will also deliver the optimum burn and heat efficiency from the wood and appliance and ensure that warranties are not invalidated through the use of wet wood – something that can easily be detected because of the staining that wet wood causes.
Ready to Burn wood is also sourced from sustainably manage woodland, where trees cut down for firewood are replaced through replanting programmes, so the quality mark will also help guide consumers with green principles.
Stephen Talbot says: “Logs Direct was keen to be part of the Government’s consultation process, because we have spent years communicating the many issues that arise from burning unsuitable wood, which range from emissions and pollution, to chimney fires and appliance breakdowns.
“We believe that Ready to Burn will make a difference to air quality and is a welcome move that enables the customer to know they can place their trust in a supplier’s wood, as soon as they spot the quality mark that the Woodsure scheme provides.
“The move should also make suppliers think twice about selling wet wood, as some form of policing will be taking place, as the air quality issue is one that cannot be ignored.