Fear not. Your wood-burning stoves and fireplaces are not going to become obsolete…
The recent Wet Wood Ban announced by the Government on 21st February 2020 led to Estate Managers and Foresters up and down the country becoming concerned for the future of their businesses. The fear has also extended to many households, who worry their local supply will cease to exist, and chimney sweeps panicking they will go out of business.
House coal and wet wood are the most serious pollutants to human health and it was about time this ban was put in place. Many people continue to burn treated ‘contaminated’ waste wood from skips and building sites which have been painted with chemicals not suitable for inhalation. Many in the industry will find our viewpoint controversial because it can take a long time for some people to change habits, let alone if they feel forced. But change is needed to prevent irreversible damage to our planet.
The ban (which will be phased in from 2021 to 2023) stipulates that wet wood sales under 2m3 will be restricted for sale from February 2021 to allow for stock to be used up. After this time wood will need to have been air-dried for at least 2 years to obtain a moisture content of less than 25%.
Unfortunately, this probably won’t stop people skip rummaging, burning any waste wood they find foraging and it’s even possible that a black wet wood market could pop up. It will be interesting to see how this will be prevented.
After February 2021, the sale of all bags of house coal will be banned and by February 2023 the sale of loose coal by approved coal merchants will also be banned. Smokeless coal will be a cost-effective and environmentally neutral alternative if you currently burn house coal, however, it may be harder to find as products will need to be certified as having low sulphur content.
Here at Surrey Forestry all of our local logs have been seasoned and air-dried for a minimum of two years and we also have a biomass kiln drying system that further dries our kiln-dried logs after milling.
We saw this coming a long time ago and invested in a biomass system in order to dry our wood as well as run our own home and business in a more carbon-neutral way. It’s also important for us to support other businesses and homes with the same carbon footprint intentions.
Not all businesses who rely on wood sales have these facilities but we hope those intending to continue to supply local logs to their communities will be able to put up stores and processes in time in order to continue.