DIY News and Tips

England Changes Law on Burning Wet Wood and Coal

Hopefully we won’t need to be thinking of having fires for much longer this year, but did you know that the laws have changed over the burning of wood?

In England new restrictions on burning coal and wood mean that anyone with a stove or open fire must burn cleaner alternatives. These forms of heating create small pollution particles which can enter the bloodstream to lodge in organs of the body, and they are now the biggest source of these particles which are the most damaging to health in the UK.

You can read more about the government data here.

Cut log pile

Suppliers can only sell wood fuel in volumes of less than 2 cubic metres if it is certified as “Ready to Burn”. This confirms it has a moisture content of 20% or less. This applies to firewood and wood briquettes.

Suppliers of volumes greater than 2m cubed of wet wood, also called green wood or unseasoned wood, has to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning, and purchasers must follow these guidelines or risk fines.

Makers of solid fuels need to demonstrate their products have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

What is Wet Firewood?

Wet wood was often sold in nets and was cheaper to buy, but it contains moisture which, when burned, creates more smoke and harmful particles of air pollution (PM2.5) than dry wood.

Wet wood can also cause more damage chimneys by allowing tar and soot to build up.

Dry or seasoned wood, often called kiln-dried wood has a moisture content of 20% or less. If sold in smaller quantities (less than 2 M cubed) then it should display the Ready to Burn logo, certification number and supplier or manufacturer details to comply with the new regulations.

Fines for sellers

If you sell logs and firewood you could be fined if:

  • You sell unauthorised fuel
  • You’ve stored fuel so it has a moisture content of more than 20%
  • The fuel does not have the “Ready to Burn” logo or is not labelled correctly

Fines could involve a £300 fixed penalty fine issued by the local authority or even more than £300 depending on the severity of the offence issued by the courts.

Currently these regulations don’t cover Wales or Scotland, but they are also considering similar changes to the law.

Regulations on Coal and “Smokeless” Fuels

All suppliers, distributors and retailers can continue to sell these “smokeless” fuels:

  • anthracite coal
  • semi-anthracite coal
  • low volatile steam coal

Only registered coal merchants who are members of the Approved Coal Merchants scheme can legally sell traditional house coal (also known as bituminous coal) in England from 1 May 2021 up to 30 April 2023. Sales of traditional house coal for use in homes will be illegal in England from 1 May 2023.

Traditional house coal must be sold loose or in unsealed bags directly to the customer. It is now illegal to sell bagged coal.

Traditional house coal is not approved for use in smoke control areas in England unless it is used in an appropriate exempt appliance.

This marks the latest step in the government’s Clean Air Strategy, says environment minister Rebecca Pow.

Burning cleaner fuels is a more efficient option for households across England, helping reduce our exposure to this incredibly harmful pollutant and benefitting the environment

The move was welcomed by Harriet Edwards, the senior air quality policy adviser for Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, who warned that air pollution is particularly harmful to people with lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It can put them at risk of suffering potentially life-threatening asthma attacks or flare-up

Other lung experts believe that it is only a matter of time before all log burners and other fires are banned in built-up areas.

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DIY News and Tips

New Permitted Development Rules for Additional Storeys and Extensions

On the 31st August 2020 there was a change to the permitted development rules in England that has made it easier to add more levels to your home and increase space. These are among other changes that are designed to make it easier and quicker to develop new homes, including greater flexibility to the change of use of building particularly to turn commercial properties into residential ones.

Rear 2 storey extension to house

Permitted Development

Permitted Development Rights are rules that allow certain types of building work to be completed without the need for Planning Permission, which can be expensive and time consuming. In essence is it a blanket permission granted by Parliament which circumvents the need to Local Authority permissions for specific work. You can find out more on the Planning Portal.

It is important to remember that these rights are specific. This includes to specific types of building so what might be permitted on a house may not be on flats or maisonettes. There will almost certainly be restrictions for listed buildings and “designated area” such as Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There might also be the requirement for preapproval to be sought before proceeding with works. We cover this issue below as it is a big feature of the new permitted development rights, but the Planning Portal provides an excellent explanation of Prior Approval.  

Upward Extensions

The new rules allow the addition of up to two additional storeys where the house consists of two or more storeys already. If it house only has one storey, only one additional storey is allowed to be added under these permitted developments.

According to research by Knight Frank there could be up to 173,000 new homes built in this manner on top of existing residential and commercial properties.

There are some restrictions:

  • The rights only apply to homes built between 1 July 1948 or after 28 October 2018
  • These rights cannot be used where additional storeys have been added already
  • Mixed used building will not benefit from these rights
  • You must get Prior Approval from the council before you proceed

Prior Approval is required from your local authority for this specific Permitted Developments for the following aspects:

  • traffic and highway matters
  • contamination risks
  • flood risk, the external appearance of the building
  • the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the new dwellings
  • privacy and loss of light
  • impact on amenity of the existing building and neighbouring premises including overlooking
  • the impact on any protected views
  • air traffic and defense asset impacts

There is quite a list here so it is not necessarily a given that you will get the go ahead from your local authority. Your proposed plans will need to cater for these aspects to be given approval.

Pro’s and Con’s of the New Permitted Development Rights:

Obviously the big benefit to these new rights is that it should make it much easier and quicker to add space and value to your property. Although there is a growing concerns that what should be done is to reform the planning process and make it work more effectively and efficiently, rather than creating measures to circumvent it.

The other big concern with works completed under permitted developments is that they have been found to be worst in a wide range of qualitative standards as compared to buildings built under Planning Permission.

With so many of us spending so much more time at home, space is a premium at the moment and this could unlock some much needed space. Not to mention as significantly to the value of your home.

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DIY News and Tips

How To Organize Your Aerosol Cans

Posted: March 16, 2021 By: MattM

Aerosol Paints and Chemicals are widely used in most any workspace and it often can be tough to organize your most used cans for easy access. It never fails you always set down that can of PRE on a workbench or on your project car and then can’t find it when you want to use it next. This is why we’ve been working to try and better organize our workspace for our new years resolution in 2021. We’ve been working on streamlining our workspace and also our back stock of Eastwood chemicals and paints and the Eastwood Extra Wide Aerosol Rack is the solution we’ve been looking for!

With this spray can rack, it’s easy to keep track of coatings and chemicals so they don’t get hidden on shelves, roll under vehicles or accidentally fall in the trash. The organizer made from 1-mm 18 gauge steel that’s powder coated black for lasting durability. By taking care of your aerosol cans, they’ll also last longer with less rusting or clogging. Eastwood has a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee to help you Do the Job Right.

The Eastwood Extra Wide Aerosol Can Rack can be used to store any paint, cleaning chemical or lubricant that is commonly used around the shop or home. Three convenient 16-inch center-spaced holes can be used to mount this to any type of wall or even in your race trailer. It’s made from 1-mm thick powder coated steel so this rack will stand up to years of use.

Find all of our Garage Storage and Tool Solutions HERE.

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