New rules around fireplaces and log-burners confusing millions of homeowners

There are around 2.5 million households in the UK that have an open fireplace and as colder weather creeps in Brits are turning up the heating or putting the fire on in their homes

New rules over fireplaces and log-burners have been confusing millions of homeowners, a survey suggests.

As the colder weather creeps in Brits are turning up the heating or putting the fire on in their homes to stay warm.

But it appears many homeowners have been left confused about new regulations over their fireplace.

There are around 2.5 million households in the UK that have an open fireplace.

After the Government’s recent rules, a new survey from the Coal Merchants Federations found 58% of Brits do not know what fuel they can now legally burn on their fireplace.

More than half of people in Manchester plan to get rid of, or remove, their open fireplace because of uncertainty over the law.

But it appears there are plenty of smokeless fuels that can be used that are much less harmful to the environment – so there’s no need to rip your current fireplace out.

The Manchester Evening News says Government rules state: “Burning at home, particularly with traditional house coal or wet wood, is a major source of the pollutant PM2.5 – which has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most serious air pollutant for human health.

“People with log burners and open fires can still use them, but will be required to buy cleaner alternative fuels – if they are not already – such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels which produce less smoke.

“Both of these cleaner options are just as easy to source and more efficient to burn, making them more cost effective.

“Burning dry wood also produces more heat and less soot than wet wood and can reduce emissions by up to 50%.”

The Government restrictions, which began on May 1 2021, mean that sales of bagged house coal and wet wood in units under 2m3 are now unlawful.

Wet wood in larger volumes must also now be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning.

All manufactured solid fuels also now need to have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

A new scheme will now see all products certified and labelled with a ‘ready to burn’ logo by suppliers so they can be easily identified as safe for use, and retail outlets will only able to sell fuel that is accompanied by the correct label.

Homeowners that currently use house coal can continue to buy it from their local Approved Coal Merchant until May 2023 when it will be fully banned.

Julian Martin, a spokesperson for the Coal Merchant’s Federation, told Manchester Evening News : “Open fireplaces and multi-fuel stoves are traditionally at the heart of the home and play an integral role in bringing together friends and family, as well as being a cost-efficient way to heat a house or supplement your central heating.

“The good news is there is no need to remove your stove or fireplace this winter, we instead urge anybody who has a multi-fuel stove or open fireplace to use ‘ready to burn’ solid fuel, which is compliant with the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.”