We are working in conjunction with Dorset Council Trading Standards to raise awareness of the Ready to Burn scheme with fuel suppliers in their local area and ensure they are complying with legislation.
In early 2022 Dorset Council Trading Standards approached supermarkets, garden centres and petrol stations to make sure that the wood fuel they sold was compliant with The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020, the legislation relating to the sale of wood fuel. This year attention was turned to other wood fuel sellers within the Dorset Council area. The approach is simple, to help businesses comply with the new law through clear advice.
Trading Standards carried out open-source research on the internet, from publicly available information. This identified local businesses potentially selling solid fuel. Each business identified received a letter, by post or email, explaining the legislation on the sale of wood to burn. Clear links to the Government and Woodsure websites were included in the letter so that a business could obtain further information and guidance if required.
The publicly available seller information was passed to Woodsure to make contact with each business too, supporting businesses to become Ready to Burn certified.
In turn Trading Standards will take referrals from Woodsure, for example where Woodsure find sellers who, despite being provided with advice, do not follow the rules on the sale of wood fuel. In these cases, Trading Standards will be able to offer further advice or action as appropriate.
This partnership work helps businesses become compliant with the regulations and Ready to Burn certification. It also gives confidence to local businesses that are already following the rules, that there is work going on behind the scenes to make sure that selling solid fuel is a level playing field for everyone. That’s the purpose of Dorset Council Trading Standards, ‘To provide a fair and safe trading environment for the consumers and businesses of Dorset through education, advice, enforcement, and collaborative working.’
We continue to engage regularly with Local Authorities through quarterly newsletters to over 2,000 contacts providing toolkits to assist with their campaigns, advice on the wood fuel industry and more. This has resulted in working with various councils, like Greater Manchester and Wiltshire, as well as with Defra on their Burn Better campaign. In addition, we have been in direct contact with 10 engaged councils and trading standards across England over the last 3 months providing continued support regarding Ready to Burn.
We realise that the lack of enforcement proves to be an ongoing issue and that resource within Local Authorities is playing a big part in this. We have been working on creating a process where we can begin reporting non-compliant firewood suppliers to the relevant Local Authority and have strengthened our relationship with Gloucestershire Trading Standards by incorporating Woodsure into its own Primary Authority Status. So far, we have reported over 100 businesses through this process.