The Stove Industry Alliance response to the publication of Emission of air pollutants in the UK, 1970 to 2019 and to Defra research Burning in UK homes and gardens
A number of key points from the above publications have been overlooked which has resulted in a number of misleading reports that incorrectly apportion the amount of PM2.5 linked to domestic wood burning.
The Stove Industry Alliance draws attention to the following:
- The figure of 38% of PM2.5 in the UK being caused by domestic wood burning is greatly exaggerated because it is based an incorrect assumption of the amount of wood fuel used. This figure comes from on a government survey in 20151 which incorrectly estimated that 6 million tonnes of wood is burnt each year. The latest figures published by Defra2 (Annexe A of Burning in UK homes and gardens) show that in fact 1.75 million tonnes of wood fuel is burnt indoors each year. This number is much more closely aligned with the SIA’s own research3which gives a figure of 1.85 million tonnes.
- The emissions factors used to calculate the 38% figures are outdated and are three times the level permitted under the new Ecodesign legislation which comes into force next January.
- If Defra’s latest wood fuel volume figures were combined with the correct emission factors, the real percentage of PM2.5 attributable to domestic wood burning would be less than 10%.
- Indoor burning is being unfairly combined with unregulated outdoor burning which currently remains unquantified by any study and is something that the SIA knows that Defra is also looking into.
Modern woodburning stoves and fireplaces provide low carbon and low emission heating using renewable and sustainable fuel. However, through a combination of reported misconceptions and lack of awareness, these appliances are often portrayed as negative and contributing much more particulate emissions than they actually do.
Not only does the latest Defra research clearly dispel the 38% myth, but it also shows that the majority of respondents support wood burning and do not want it to be restricted.
Modern woodburning stoves offer an efficient single room space heating solution – a solution many more people now working from home are relying on. And they work in tandem with other low carbon heating solutions such as heat pumps, where they provide the solution to temperature variations often seen with heat pump technology and give controllable local space heating.
Far from being the problem, modern wood burning stoves are actually the solution to a low carbon, sustainable future domestic heating strategy.
The SIA’s latest video aims to dispel the reported myths around wood burning stoves by tackling three of the major misconceptions that surround them, to help consumers better understand their benefits and make an informed choice.
Morley Sage, chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, commented: “Many critics of woodburning stoves base their assumptions on data linked to open fires, older stoves and poor-quality wood fuel. The SIA would be one of the first organisations to point out that burning wet wood on an open fire, a practice that is still very common today, is one of the least efficient and most highly polluting ways to heat your home. By stark contrast, a modern woodburning stoves emits up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than a stove that is 10 or more years old.”
He added: “SIA members were among the first manufacturers to develop the technology within their appliances to meet the forthcoming Ecodesign Regulations (SIA Ecodesign Ready), and more recently the SIA has initiated and supported the launch of clearSkies, an independent emissions and energy performance certification scheme for solid fuel stoves and fireplaces. Appliances certified under clearSkies not only meet the performance levels set out under Ecodesign, but many also go a significant way beyond. We would therefore encourage consumers to look for the clearSkies certification mark.
The real facts about modern woodburning stoves are that they are a future proof, highly efficient, very low carbon and sustainable way of heating our homes and keeping our families warm, and that is something to be truly proud of.”
1 The BEIS Domestic Wood Survey www.gov.uk/government/publications/summary-results-of-the-domestic-wood-use-survey using a sample size of 1,206
3 SIA independently verified research carried out in 2019 using sample size of 10,620 using same questions as BEIS survey