Some of the UK’s leading retailers are taking steps to encourage their customers to buy cleaner fuels to heat their homes and reduce the impact on their health and the environment.
Around 38% of particulate matter emissions in the UK come from burning wood and coal in the home – according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
But, Defra explains, it is possible to reduce emissions “significantly” by burning drier, cleaner, more efficient products. Retailers including ASDA and B&Q have been encouraging and incentivising customers to purchase ‘Ready to Burn’ wood and ‘smokeless’ products.
More than fifty companies are now signed up to the ‘Ready to Burn’ scheme and firewood and briquettes with the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn’ logo are available from local stove stores through to large outlets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, B&Q and Wickes.
Following the launch of the Clean Air Strategy, the government held a consultation on proposals to phase out the most polluting fuels, which closed on Friday. The next steps will be announced in due course.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Burning dirty fuels to heat a home is a huge contributor to air pollution and I warmly welcome this commitment from retailers to help move consumers to burning cleaner fuels for this winter.
“I encourage all stores to follow their lead, and for all users to stop using wet wood and smoky coal to reduce the amount of harmful pollution to which they unwittingly expose themselves, their families and the environment. Dried wood and smokeless coal make for a better fire both heatwise and healthwise.”
Retailers are carrying out a range of actions to help consumers switch to cleaner, alternative fuels:
- Lidl have committed to only sell wood that adheres to Woodsure conditions, meaning consumers have a guarantee that the fuel meets specified standards, including having the right moisture content and being sourced from sustainably managed woodland.
- B&Q has trained store staff on the benefits of cleaner fuels and more efficient stoves and heaters to help educate their customers.
- Asda has removed non-kiln dried wood logs and house coal from all of its London stores, guiding customers towards making better choices.
- Tesco has produced in-store advertising promoting the benefits of “Ready to Burn” solid fuels and where to find them in store.
- Booker, which provides stock for newsagents and convenience stores across the country, has confirmed it will be including “Ready to Burn” products as part of their autumn/winter range.
The commitments come during the first ever Green GB Week – celebrating the UK’s progress in tackling climate change.
Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK’s commercial board director, said: “At Lidl UK we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are proud to source and sell dry wood which adheres to the quality specifications set out by Woodsure.”
As well as an intention to phase out the most polluting fuels, the government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out that only the cleanest stoves will be available for sale by 2022.