Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
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Coal and wet wood ban announced

Coal and wet wood, used in wood burners, stoves and opened fires will be banned from next year in a bid to tackle air pollution.

An estimated 2.5million homes in the UK have hearths with open fires or woodburning stoves – including many rental homes.

Landlords should let tenants know about the ban – first announced 18 months ago – and advised to use “cleaner alternatives” such as dry wood or smokeless fuel going forward.

What is wet wood?

Wet wood is often included in bags of logs sold in DIY stores, garden centres and petrol stations. It is cheaper to buy than some alternatives, as it has not been dried out to reduce moisture content.

Confirming the ban, Environment Secretary George Eustice recently said:

“Cosy open fires and wood-burning stoves are at the heart of many homes up and down the country. 

“But the use of certain fuels means that they are also the biggest source of the most harmful pollutant that is affecting people in the UK.” 

The changes will mean: 

  • Sales of bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021, and the sale of loose coal direct to customers will end by 2023
  • Sales of wet wood in small units (less than 2m cube) will be phased out from February 2021. Wet wood in volumes greater than 2m cube will also have to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning
  • Makers of solid fuels will also need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

The government has stressed it is not banning wood or coal burning stoves.

The government said the phase-out will give the public and suppliers time to use up stocks, so landlords are advised to encourage tenants to use up any stores they may have.


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