Action 291: Meet the new rules around burning wood and coal (UK)

ready to burnDate: 18 October
Action: 291
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL


From our guest author Anna Dawson in the UK

Some recent changes in the law in the UK are designed to improve air quality

Although this article has been prompted by changes to the rules in the UK, the action can be applied anywhere; in fact many countries suffer far worse air pollution than the UK … Ed


This is what we need – new legislation and laws in order to tackle the air pollution crisis.

However, we all need to make sure we comply with the laws as they are only effective if everybody cooperates.

This is what you need to know

On Saturday 1st May, new legislation was passed here in the UK stating that those with open fires and log burners are only allowed to use cleaner alternatives instead of wet wood and coal. These cleaner alternatives are:

  • Dry wood
  • Manufactured solid fuels

ready to burnDry wood that meets the regulations will be marked as ‘Ready to Burn’ (logo pictured) which confirms that they have a moisture content of 20% or less. Manufactured solid fuels will also be marked as ‘Ready to Burn’ which confirms that they meet sulphur and smoke emission limits.

You also can no longer buy traditional coal, and loose sale to approved coal wholesalers will end in 2023.

What difference does this make?

Burning cleaner, alternative fuels reduces the emission of harmful pollutants by 50%.

And for your benefit, these cleaner fuels produce more heat and less smoke and soot – so this change just makes sense!

Why does this matter?

Wood and coal burning are a major source of particulate matter pollution, which has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the biggest environmental risks to public health. Particulate pollution can seriously damage the lungs and can contribute to asthma, other respiratory conditions, and even cancer development. If this air pollution can lead to serious human health problems, you can imagine the extent of the damage this type of pollution has on the wider environment too:

  • reduced plant/tree growth
  • reduced crop and fruit yields
  • increased plant susceptibility to diseases
  • contaminates bodies of water and the water cycle
  • so is spread throughout the food chain, damaging the health of all wildlife
  • animals can suffer with lower reproduction rates
  • endanger the survival of the species

Burning wood and coal also contributes to global warming.

Take action

This is just one of the steps in the recently passed Environment Bill, and there are plans to set a legally binding target to reduce pollutant and particulate matter.

But don’t wait for the legislation – do your bit by looking out for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo when purchasing materials to burn! Make sure you at least comply with the laws in your country, and if you can switch away from burning wood, charcoal and coal altogether, so much the better!

This article was contributed by “Outdoorsy Anna” Anna Dawson
Twitter: @OutdoorsyAnnaa
Insta: @outdoorsy.annaa