DEFRA Burn Better, Breathe Better campaign...

On Tuesday 31st October, Defra launched its revised Burn Better, Breathe Better campaign, encouraging people to reduce the impact their stove or open fire can have on their health. The campaign focuses around three key actions to burn better for the environment, the community and for health.

  • Check it regularly.
  • Sweep it annually.
  • Feed it the right fuels.

This aligns with the Stove Industry Association’s four key best practice principles of right appliance – right installation – right fuel – right maintenance that we’ve all been talking about for some time, so this is really pleasing.

The Government published their Environment Improvement Plan in 2023 which confirmed that it isn’t considering a ban on domestic burning in England which is also excellent news. The spotlight on the issue does mean that we must all make efforts to burn better and reduce our environmental impact. The campaign encourages stove and fireplace users to only use professionals for installations and maintenance and to only burn approved fuels.

Right Appliance

The Ecodesign Regulation for solid fuel appliances became law in the UK on 1st January 2022 and was introduced to improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution from solid fuel heating appliances. Any solid fuel stove manufactured since the 1st January 2022 MUST comply with Ecodesign (EU) 2015/1185.


The stoves we prefer to supply and install come from manufacturing members of the Stove Industry Association who have been producing stoves that meet the lower emissions limits since 2017 under the SIA Ecodesign Ready label.


In 2020 the clearSkies certification scheme was launched to help consumers identify stoves that meet and go beyond the requirements of Ecodesign with even further improved efficiency and a greater reduction in emissions.


Independent tests show that a stove meeting the requirements of Ecodesign, such as a clearSkies certified model, produces up to 90% less particulate emissions than an open fire. An Ecodesign stove will also use much less fuel than an open fire making them much more cost effective to run.

Check It Regularly

Regular maintenance of your stove will improve performance, produce more heat from less fuel and produce fewer harmful particles. Thus aiding the environment and saving you money – a win/win!

To properly maintain your stove, you should:

  • Choose HETAS or OFTEC registered installers - we are HETAS registered - to install your stove. 
  • Get your flue swept and your stove serviced once a year - we will do this at your annual chimney sweep appointment.
  • Always use your stove according to the manufacturers and installers guidance.
  • Only use appropriate fuel types. 

There are also actions you can take to maintain your stove: 

  • Clean out the ash.
  • Check firebricks for cracks (we can organise replacements if this occurs).
  • Clean the stove glass.
  • Check the seal around the stove door.

Sweep Professionally

It is very important to get your chimney swept annually, to remove any soot, tar and creosote built up over the year. This can reduce the efficiency of the stove and increase the risk of chimney fires. You can also inadvertently reduce the lifetime of your chimney liner by leaving corrosive deposits lying on the inside of your liner for any length of time.

After every maintenance appointment we complete, we automatically offer a provisional appointment for the following year for all our customers. Making it super easy to stay on top of your annual maintenance!

Feed it the right fuel

Make sure you are using the right fuels for your stove. Choose cleaner fuels such as dry wood (moisture content less than 20%) and manufactured solid fuels. These produce less smoke and pollution in comparison to wet wood and traditional house coal (Two of the most polluting fuels that have now been phased out in England)

Other Things To Consider

  • Learn how to best use your appliance air controls for optimum burn - making for efficient combustion. We recommend the use of a magnetic stove flue pipe thermometer (which we sell) as an aid to your learning.
  • Read your manufacturer’s instructions – They will very often recommend certain fuels and prohibit the use of others as part of their warranty requirements.
  • Avoid slumbering your stove overnight or for long periods during the day. Firebox temperatures drop too low to achieve full combustion – which wastes fuel (and money) and gases going up your flue are too cool to expel properly. Tar will build up in the chimney and the gases which do manage to stagger out of the top of your chimney will be laden with pollutants.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01989 218328 to discuss this further!