Pollution and air quality were among the main topics in the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2022. The report, by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, stated that all forms of domestic heating caused some pollution, including wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) contributed to the report, providing recommendations and suggestions to reduce domestic heating pollution. Here’s what they had to say. 

Wood burners cause pollution, but there are regulations to reduce it

Are wood-burning stoves bad for the environment? Recently, the stove industry has made an increasing effort to reduce the pollution caused by wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves, including the new Ecodesign 2022 wood-burning stove regulations.

The government implemented these rules in January 2022, and all new stoves are now required to meet them. As a result, clean-burning technology now comes as standard on most modern stoves. The report states that to reduce air pollution, we should use modern, less polluting stoves and only burn dry, untreated wood. Image source: https://stoveindustryalliance.com 

SIA Chair Andy Hill says that the CMO and his team have considered various air pollution sources in the report. These include domestic heating fuel and others, such as the transport industry.

He said that the SIA is pleased that the report recognises the massive advances the industry has made in stove technology, primarily due to the Ecodesign regulations. He added that the stove industry is continuing to develop and invest in new technology to reduce emissions in the future further. 

Stove owners and those thinking of buying a new stove can be assured that the government is not seeking to ban wood burning stoves. Instead it wants to ensure that consumers use the most efficient and least polluting stoves and the cleanest fuel. Stove Industry ALliance

The UK leads the way with Ecodesign-ready and clearSkies rated stoves

The government implemented Ecodesign on 1st Jan 2022. However, the stove industry in the UK was already following the new rules by then.

Because of this, stoves that met the efficiency and emissions criteria set out in the Ecodesign 2022 regulations were on sale in the UK for several years before it became mandatory.

Image source: https://stoveindustryalliance.com

In 2020, a new independent certification scheme allowed consumers to identify the most efficient, least emitting stoves quickly. This scheme is known as the clearSkies Mark Certification Scheme. It’s an optional scheme available to stove manufacturers, with a rating system to demonstrate how clean-burning a stove is.

All clearSkies rated stoves are Ecodesign compliant. 

Independent tests show that a stove meeting the requirements of Ecodesign, such as a clearSkies certified model, produces up to 90% less particulate emissions than an open fire. An Ecodesign stove will also use much less fuel than an open fire making them much more cost effective to run. Stove industry Alliance

This video from clearSkies explains the scheme in more detail:


SIA's top recommendations for reducing pollution from stoves

Adding to the CMO’s report, SIA has offered several recommendations and suggestions for those who have or are considering purchasing a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove. 

  • Ensure your stove is Ecodesign compliant

If buying a new stove, always choose an Ecodesign-compliant appliance. Most stoves we stock at Direct Stoves meet Ecodesign 2022 criteria, and this information is evident on each product. A clearSkies certified device will usually guarantee Ecodesign compliance. 

Click here to view all Ecodesign-ready stoves. 

Suppose you use an open fire or an older and more basic wood burner. In that case, it’s worth considering an upgrade. A modern Ecodesign-compliant stove is less polluting and more efficient. As a result, you’ll get a cleaner and cheaper burn. 

  • Choose a DEFRA-exempt model

Before purchasing a new stove, check if you live in a Smoke Control Area. As a result of this regulation, most built-up areas throughout the UK will fall into this category. Your stove must be DEFRA-exempt if you live in a Smoke Control Area.

Any stove rated clearSkies Level 3 or above will meet these criteria. 

  • Ensure professional fitting and maintenance

Professional fitting is crucial for stove efficiency and eco-friendliness. Therefore, it is essential to choose a stove fitter registered with HETAS or OFTEC.

Have your stove regularly serviced to keep it in top condition and preserve its efficiency. 

  • Keep your chimney well-maintained

Have your chimney swept at least once by a registered sweep each year.

You can find a registered chimney sweep using the Federation of British Chimney Sweeps website

  • Choose the materials you burn with care

If you have a multi-fuel stove, smokeless fuels are far more environmentally friendly than standard coal.

For wood burners, only burn seasoned, dried wood with a moisture level of no more than 20% in your wood burner.

Never burn wet wood, painted wood, or treated wood, as this will release harmful toxins into the environment. Learn more with our wood-buying guide for wood-burning stoves

Find clearSkies rated stoves at Direct Stoves today

For more stove buying guides, information and advice, explore the Direct Stoves blog

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