What is the UK Government 2023 Environmental Plan?
Five years ago, a 25 Year UK 2023 Government Environment Plan set out a vision, containing action to improve the health of the natural world. Government committed to reviewing this plan every five years, set into law in the Environment Act 2021.
The 2023 Environmental Plan is the first revision. It contains ten core goals, sharing the progress of all ten – including the targets and commitments made – and shares a plan of how we will continue to achieve the overarching goals.
What is the plan for Goal 2: Clean Air?
Air quality in the UK has improved significantly in recent decades. There has been a decrease in all five major air pollutants: for instance, emissions of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) decreased by 18% between 2010 and 2020.
The solid fuel industry has played a major part in this positive progress, with manufacturers like Stovax delivering on Ecodesign compliancy since 2017 – 5 years before it became law in 2022.
What are the UK Government’s new plans for the solid fuel industry?
They will continue to tackle domestic emissions by reducing the maximum emissions for domestic burning appliances in Smoke Control Areas – this includes tightening the limits that new stoves in Smoke Control Areas must meet, reducing the limit from 5g of smoke per hour to a maximum of 3g.
Design and implement measures to drive a shift away from older, more polluting appliances, to newer appliances that meet new emission standards.
Challenge local authorities to improve air quality more quickly by assessing their performance and use of existing powers, while supporting them with clear guidance, funding, and tools
Re-align regional air quality zones in line with local government boundaries to drive effective coordinated action
Will my Stove be banned?
The UK Government is not considering a ban on domestic burning in England. Government
recognises that some households are reliant on solid fuel burning as a primary source for heating, hot water and cooking.
A ban on domestic outdoor burning (bonfires, barbecues, firepits etc.) would also be considered disproportionate. The new limits only apply to models built after a certain future date – we are awaiting confirmation of this date.
As long as you are abiding by local smoke restrictions, you can continue to use your stove.
Can I use my current stove in a Smoke Controlled Area?
You can continue to use a DEFRA-exempt appliance, burning authorised fuels, in both Smoke Control Areas or Clean Air Zones.
Head to the UK Government’s interactive map of all the Smoke Control Zones in England to find if you live within a smoke controlled area.
Will I get fined for using my stove?
In a Smoke Control Area, you can only burn wood on a DEFRA-exempt appliance, or burn authorised smokeless fuels. These rules have been in place for many years, and are a positive implement intended to improve the air quality of these zones.
There is a limit on how much smoke you can release from a chimney – in England, you may receive a £300 fine for releasing too much smoke in a Smoke Control Area, or up to £1000 for burning unauthorised fuel without an exempt appliance.
Look for the Ready to Burn logo if burning wood – this mark helps you easily identify solid fuels that are legal to burn at home in compliance with air quality regulations.
For authorised smokeless fuels, refer to the DEFRA exemption website.