Restrictions on sale of coal and wet wood for home burning begin.

New restrictions on the sale of coal, wet wood and manufactured solid fuels for burning in the home have come into force from the beginning of this month (1 May).

Burning at home, particularly with traditional house coal or wet wood, is a major source of the pollutant PM2.5 – tiny particles which can enter the bloodstream and lodge in lungs and other organs. PM2.5 has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most serious air pollutant for human health.

People with log burners and open fires can still use them, but will be required to buy cleaner alternative fuels – if they are not already – such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels which produce less smoke. Both of these cleaner options are just as easy to source and more efficient to burn, making them more cost effective. Burning dry wood also produces more heat and less soot than wet wood and can reduce emissions by up to 50%.

The restrictions that start from today mean that:

Sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2 cubic meters are now unlawful.

Wet wood in larger volumes must be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning.

All manufactured solid fuels must now have a low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.

In addition, a new certification scheme will see products certified and labelled by suppliers to ensure that they can be easily identified, and retail outlets will only be able to sell fuel that is accompanied by the correct label.

Much more detailed advice about these rules, as well as the regulations for bonfires and fires outside is available from the city council’s website at

Tom Togher,

May 7, 2021.