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HETAS awarded Clean Air Act Act technical support contract

Industry body will work with Defra to assess the suitability of fuels and appliances for domestic burning to meet changing regulatory standards concerning particulate emissions

Industry body HETAS has been awarded a contract to provide the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with technical support on meeting key legal obligations outlined under the Clean Air Act.

HETAS will provide an assessment on fuels and appliances such as stoves that can be legally used in Smoke Control areas, as part of a contract that runs until March 31, 2020. The work, which commences this month, is expected to focus on anticipated legislative changes concerning domestic burning moving forward.

The contract award by Defra builds on a number of similar agreements it has held previously, while accounting for recent consultations on trying to curb particulate emissions generated from burning biomass.

HETAS chief executive Bruce Allen said that the solid fuel and wood burning heating industry was having to face up to shifting environmental legislation in the UK around the environment and air quality that is intended to help realise a low carbon economy over the next few decades.

He said, “The Defra contract includes the assessment of test reports for ‘authorised’ fuel applications, for use in smoke control areas, and for appliances that can be used in smoke control areas with specified fuels.”

“Interestingly there are other new and innovative fuels that may not fit in to existing authorisation categories and appliance regulation changes, as Ecodesign legislation becomes a requirement for stoves in 2022 and for boilers in 2020.”

Mr Allen noted that HETAS’ contract with Defra had a clear scope concerning the assessment work it will provide. He said that the organisation therefore welcomed the opportunity to offer the department technical support as legal requirements on domestic burning may change.

HETAS cited a series of consultations ran by Defra over the last few years that have been used to help define key aspects of the Clean Air Act as an example of changes facing the industry. These consultations include a proposal for ending sales of house coal for heating to try and push industry to cleaner alternatives.

Mr Allen said, “Through recent consultations it has become clear that one way forward is to ensure that only clean, dry wood fuels are available through the Defra-supported Ready to Burn scheme, and that only the cleanest appliances are available for sale.”

He added, “It seems likely that the next few years will see changes in the stove and boiler sector for solid fuel, wood and biomass. Fuels and appliances are much cleaner burning and there are major opportunities for the sector to reduce environmental impact.”

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