A TEESDALE fuel supplier says new legislation over the sale of wet wood and coal has left some people confused.
Martin Simpson, from Copley Coal, is reminding customers that traditional house coal will not be banned for another two years but added that the changes will disproportionally affect rural areas.
The government is to phase out the sale of coal and wet wood in England between 2021 and 2023.
Suppliers will need to offer more eco-friendly burning materials – such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels, often known as ovoids. Any wood fuel sold in quantities under two cubic metres from May 1 must not have a moisture content over 20 per
Sales of pre-packed coal are also banned from next month, two years before the sale of all coal for domestic use will cease.
Mr Simpson said “Coal will not be banned until May 2023 – there’s a lot of confusion about this. No one seems to explain it clearly.
“About 70 per cent of our customers in the dale use ovoids on their fires and they’ll still be available.
“Under the new rules, the sulphur content for these needs to be two per cent or less and the manufacturers we use have already achieved that.
“Some people prefer ovoids but there will always be those who don’t like them and won’t have them on an open fire.”
Mr Simpson says people can sign a petition which calls for the ban on house coal to be delayed for five years.
He said: “Rural areas are paying the price for the problems in the cities, especially London where burning wet wood was an issue.
“There’s no problem with air pollution in Teesdale.”
Campaigners say the new legislation will disproportionately affect those who are
poorer because manufactured smokeless house fuel is often more expensive than traditional house coal.
As well as postponing the forthcoming coal ban, they want the government to provide financial help to those who rely on coal. Visit https://bit.ly/3szeF6L for details on the petition.
Joanne Waller, our head of community protection at Durham County Council, said the changes “aim to improve air quality for our residents and help to tackle pollution and climate change”.
Ms Waller added: “We continue to enforce legislation under the Clean Air Act, investigating complaints resulting from smoke from fires.”