From 1st May 2022 all firewood sold in quantities smaller than 2 cu metres will have to adhere to a maximum moisture content of no greater than 20%. Your seller will be required to be part of an audited scheme run by Woodsure, who will certify that wood supplied meets that minimum (20%) requirement. The Ready to Burn logo will be displayed on any packaging along with the supplier’s name & certification number.
Wood fuel supplied in volumes of 2 cubic meters or more is not be required to be 20% moisture or less. But the supplier will be required by law to give you a ‘statutory guidance notice’ indicating that the wood needs further drying before you burn it.
- This wood is not suitable for burning until it has been dried. You should not burn wood until it has a moisture content of 20% or less Wet wood contains moisture which creates smoke and harmful particulates when burnt. As well as being harmful to your health and the environment, this can damage your stove and chimney and is an inefficient way to heat your home. Dry it in a sunny, well-aired space for at least two years, keeping rain off in the winter.Radial cracks and bark that comes off easily suggests wood that is ready for burning. Test the wood when you think it is ready for burning, ideally with a moisture meter. First calibrate the meter and then measure a freshly split surface to get the best reading.
The changes in the law are the responsibility of the seller and customers will not be required to change anything, they will be the beneficiary as this should stop sellers passing off wet wood as seasoned logs. However, it is possible some of the smaller dealers may well not be fully aware of their legal obligations.
Do I have to buy Kiln dried logs? Many suppliers will tell you that you will only be allowed to purchase kiln dried logs, this is completely false, they are confusing the issue of dry and wet wood. It will be possible to sell non kiln dried logs but they must have a moisture content below 20%.
Can I still collect /source and burn my own wood? Absolutely yes, there are no changes here. The laws only relate to the sale of firewood.
Will everyone join the scheme? Perhaps not! Some may go ‘rouge’ and ignore the rules. In this case they face the risk of prosecution. Others will switch to only selling loads of 2 cubic meters or more, meaning they don’t need to join the scheme. (But are still required by law to issue the ‘statutory guidance notice’ with every sale.)
Is kiln dried wood better than air dried wood? As long as they have a 20% moisture or less, there is no difference when burning them. With kiln drying the process is speeded up in big oven with extra fuel, where air drying requires nothing extra, except time.
Will certified READY TO BURN logs be kiln dried? They may or may not be kiln dried, the legal requirement is to ensure that all logs are 20% moisture or less, whether force dried in kin or naturally air dried.
Are they banning wood burning stoves? Absolutely Not! The Clean Air Strategy recognises that wood stoves and fireplaces are the heart of many homes across the country and only aim to phase out the installation of poor performing stoves.
Is my firewood supplier Ready to Burn certified? You can use the supplier search facility to find the nearest Woodsure certified supplier in your area.
Who are Woodsure? Woodsure manage the certification scheme that audit wood fuel producers to ensure that they produce and supply wood fuel to the correct standard known as Ready to Burn.
What about Seasoning firewood? It takes a long time to season wood naturally – it can take up to three years. Many suppliers will claim the wood has been ‘down’ for two years and therefore dry. That does not mean it’s dry. It is not about the time the tree has been cut down, but more about how the wood is stored. It must be sawn into log size, split and stored under cover but allow the passage of air for meaningful seasoning to take place. It will never dry in a closed shed or under a tarpaulin sheet.
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