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Wood burning once again hit the headlines with the release of the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy yesterday and we really do welcome the proposals.

We don’t, however, welcome the Sun’s article today which includes a photo of our bags suggesting they are wet wood. These have come from old stock images which we have not provided and in our view are rather damaging to our brand in the context of the headline. I await to hear feedback from The Sun.

As you may already know, as a family business we pioneered the kiln drying of logs for over 10 years, with a unique process of kiln drying firewood to below 20% moisture content using our own wood waste. We have always known that dry wood performs better, producing greater heat output and a much cleaner burn and in turn, this means less smoke and particulates are released into the atmosphere.

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), of which Certainly Wood are members, has spent the last several years working towards improving the efficiency of stoves, which the recently-released range of SIA Eco-design Ready stoves bear witness to. These reduce particulate emissions by 90% for an open fire with an emission reduction of 80% over a stove made ten or more years ago. Whilst European legislation demands these new stoves come into force by 2022, the SIA has committed the stove industry to be fully compliant by 2020 – two years early. There are also plans to further improve the efficiency of stoves over the coming years.

Whilst open fires are one of the biggest causes of particulate emissions in large cities such as London, it was only last year that DEFRA came to realise the quality of wood being sold and ultimately burnt is also pretty fundamental to the problem. Many garage forecourts and retail outlets still sell nets of ‘seasoned’ logs, which often have well over 30% moisture content and are far from being ‘Ready to Burn’. Since last year, DEFRA has worked closely with the log supply industry and Certainly Wood has been at the forefront of this process. It was the first firewood business in the UK to be approved under the HETAS/Woodsure quality assured fuel scheme nearly 10 years ago.

Last year this scheme was amalgamated into the new Woodsure Ready to Burn initiative featuring a clear identity to help consumers identify logs dried to below 20% moisture content and provide the ultimate in efficiency.

The Government looks set to legislate to ensure all retail outlets sell ‘Ready to Burn’ quality assured fuel and this can only be good news. Whilst this standard will include all firewood of the correct standard, including wood being imported from Eastern Europe, Certainly Wood will continue to supply 100% British kiln- dried logs under the Grown in Britain banner.

I believe that this is good news for the industry and, most importantly, for consumers who will have a better choice of dry wood to buy. I also very much hope that much of the recent negative press about wood burning will dissipate and we can focus on the benefits of wood burning over fossil fuels. I believe nothing is more sustainable than growing trees that we can all enjoy, using the ‘woodland thinnings’ to provide us with a renewable fuel whilst new trees are growing, absorbing CO2. Surely there isn’t an eco-friendlier system than that?!”