Burning wood

If you want to burn wood in a SCA you need to use a Defra approved appliance suitable for burning wood or you need to make sure the wood based fuel you are burning is authorised.

The list of approved appliances for use in England is available here: Defra approved appliances for England.

If you burn wet, treated or ‘unseasoned‘ wood in an approved appliance it may still produce smoke and result in a fine.

To minimise the risk of creating smoke from your approved appliance you should ensure:

  • that your appliances are well maintained and operated correctly
  • your chimney is regularly swept
  • your fuels are stored correctly so they don’t become damp
  • you never burn waste material, including treated waste wood.

There is lots more useful information on the Burnright website to help you get the best out of your stove and avoid creating smoke.

Ready to Burn Wood

Under the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 wood fuel sold in volumes under 2m3 must now be certified as ‘Ready to Burn’.

When buying wood to burn you should look out for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo on the fuel packaging as this shows it is ready for immediate use.

‘Ready to Burn’ firewood has a moisture content of 20% and will burn more efficiently and cleaner than unseasoned, green wood. Using ‘Ready to Burn’ wood will reduce emissions to air and reduce damage to your appliance and chimney.

Ready to Burn logo. Company: A Supplier Company. Certificate No: MSF9999.

The ‘Ready to Burn’ wood scheme is administered by ‘Woodsure’.

If you are taking bulk delivery of volumes of wood greater than 2m3 you should make sure the wood is kept dry and stored correctly. Wood should have a moisture content of less than 20% before being burnt to ensure if burns efficiently and doesn’t create excessive smoke.

The ‘Ready to Burn’ Scheme have produced a useful consumer advice leaflet on wood burning Ready to Burn Consumer Leaflet - Ready To Burn. Their website also contains lots of other tips on how to safely store wood and measure the moisture content.

Burning wood outside a SCA

If you don’t live in a SCA there is no legal requirement for you to use an approved appliance or to use authorised fuels but you should be aware that due to a recent change in legislation smoke from domestic chimneys can now be deemed a 'statutory nuisance'.

If smoke from your chimney is found to be causing a nuisance to neighbours, or is considered to be prejudicial to health, you could be served with a nuisance abatement notice. If you fail to comply with the requirements of an abatement notice within a specified period, you could be taken to a magistrate’s court and fined.

To avoid creating a nuisance to neighbours and to protect your health it is recommended that you use ‘Ready to Burn’ fuels whenever possible and ensure that any wood burnt is well seasoned and has a moisture content of less than 20% before being burnt.

Irrespective of where you live you should never burn waste wood that has been treated with chemicals or painted as this could be hazardous to your health and that of others.