Coal vs Wood Fuels: Why is the UK Making the Switch?

Coal vs Wood Fuels: Why is the UK Making the Switch?

In recent years, the UK has been working rapidly towards reducing its carbon footprint. According to the government’s latest plan, the UK is slated to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As part of these environmental efforts, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has banned the sale of house coal in the UK.

As a result, our customer support staff is flooded by hundreds of messages from former house coal users who are curious about our kiln-dried logs and briquettes as a more environmentally friendly alternative.

To help answer some of these questions, we’ll explain the reasons behind the government’s decisions and highlight the health and environmental benefits of transitioning to wood fuel.

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Why Was House Coal Banned?

The sale of house coal has been made illegal in the UK on 1 May 2023. The reason for this ban is simple. Scientific study after scientific study has pointed out bituminous coal as a massive contributor to the UK’s environmental pollution. 

By eliminating the use of house coal by retail customers and introducing the Ready to Burn quality standard, the UK government aims to improve air quality, safeguard public health, protect the environment, and ultimately reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.

Why Is House Coal Bad For the Environment?

The burning of house coal in residential areas releases massive quantities of harmful and toxic pollutants, including:

  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5)

Why Are the Pollutants Released by House Coal Bad?

The pollutants produced by house coal have long been linked to various health issues. These include respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. 

Fine particles (PM 2.5) can penetrate deep into the respiratory system, leading to inflammation and worsening respiratory conditions. These pollutants can easily enter the bloodstream, causing cardiovascular problems and increasing the risk of serious health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Prolonged exposure to coal pollutants has also been associated with an elevated risk of cancer.

Why Are Wood Fuels Better Than Coal?

So, why are wood fuels widely considered better alternatives to coal? Firstly, unlike coal, wood fuel is a 100% renewable energy source.

As long as forests are managed responsibly and replanted at a similar or faster rate than they are chopped down, wood logs and briquettes are an exceptionally environmentally friendly choice.

In contrast, coal is a fossil fuel formed from ancient plant matter that turned into coal over millions of years. When coal is taken out of the ground and burned, it releases all of the harmful compounds stored in it into the atmosphere. Had it not been extracted, these compounds would’ve been left in the ground forever.

By switching to wood fuel, the UK can reduce its dependence on non-renewable energy sources and decrease its carbon emissions.

Wood Fuel vs Coal: Versatility 

Another benefit of logs and briquettes is their versatility. In the UK, many households use open fires, chimineas, log burners, and wood stoves for heating, recreation, and cooking.

Kiln-dried logs and briquettes are well-suited for all appliances and can even be used without any appliance, such as when camping.

The Growing Wood Fuel Market

Over the last few years, the UK market for wood fuels has been growing steadily.

Here at Lekto, we’ve enjoyed record-breaking year over record-breaking year in terms of overall unit sales.

All of this despite the fact that sourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, and delivering wood fuels has become incredibly expensive as a result of the Russo-Ukrainian War and the Cost of Living Crisis.

And other companies seem to be enjoying similar levels of growth as the demand for wood fuels greatly outstrips supply.

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