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Fossil Fuels

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 76015, tabled on 16 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether suppliers of (a) lignite, (b) pet coke, (c) coffee logs, (d) wine logs and (e) olive logs are required to prove that those fuels are safe to burn from an environmental and health perspective prior to selling to consumers in (i) domestic premises and (ii) the hospitality industry.

Answered on

24 November 2021

In a Smoke Control Area, under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is only permissible to burn authorised fuels, or “smokeless fuels” (anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas, low volatile steam coal) unless the fuel is being burnt on an exempt appliance. Authorised fuels must emit less than 2% sulphur content and 5g of smoke per hour. In practice, this means that coffee logs, wine logs, and olive logs are not sold in Smoke Control Areas.

The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 apply throughout England, and introduce requirements covering a large proportion of the market for fuels used for domestic burning. They phase out the sale of traditional house coal and wet wood sold in smaller units.

The Government is aware that new fuels, such as coffee logs, are entering the market. As stated in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government wants to encourage innovation, but customers need reassurance that these products are safe to use. The Government is conducting a review of these fuels with a view to setting relevant standards across England, to ensure that health and environmental impacts are minimised. As a first step in that review, we published an invitation to tender for a market study of coffee logs and other new and emerging fuels on 12 November. The invitation states that we are looking for information about the market (including the hospitality sector) for coffee logs and other emerging waste-based fuels, as well as for lignite and any other emerging fuels such as pet coke.

Air quality policies are devolved, and the relevant administrations have direct policy responsibility for air quality measures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.