The Westmorland Show on September 13 will be the platform at which wood and coal fuel specialist, Logs Direct, starts a campaign to help Cumbrian woodburner owners and chefs respect the wildlife of the Lake District and Cumbria, its habitats and its air quality.
Whilst there are no Smoke Control Areas in the South Lakes, other parts of Cumbria are in smoke-monitored areas, where it is essential to only burn fuel that is DEFRA-approved for use in such zones.
However, despite such clean-air regulations only being enforced in part of the county, Logs Direct is urging homeowners in the South Lakes to respect the ethos of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and also take heed of the Government’s attempts to encourage all homeowners to burn fuel responsibly.
Logs Direct will be ensuring that all visitors to its stand at the Westmorland Show are made aware of the relatively new Woodsure mark, which accredits wood that is ‘ready to burn’. This measure was introduced as part of the fight to combat smog in Britain’s cities and to prevent woodburner owners across the UK from polluting the environment by burning the wrong wood.
Previously, the terminology relating to wood that was fit to be burnt in a woodburner or open grate was that of ‘kiln-dried wood’ or ‘seasoned wood’. Homeowners have not quite latched on to the term of kiln-dried and often have no idea what is true ‘seasoned’ wood and what is not. Many are still buying freshly-cut, or only partially seasoned wood, at farm gates, or felling their own wood, oblivious to not just what that is doing to the environment and public health, but also to the damage it could be doing to their own woodburners or chimneys.
‘Ready-to-burn wood’ is exactly what the name suggests. It is only sold by suppliers who have their wood officially tested at regular intervals, so that the authorities can be assured that it has a moisture content of less than 20 per cent. It is moisture content that is responsible for smog and smoking issues, as a ‘wet’ log – often comprising 80% water – cannot combust properly. Such wet wood is energy-inefficient, producing far less heat than a ready-to-burn log, but does create a lot of acrid smoke, as well as wood-tar liquid which is carried into the flue or chimney, where it condenses and forms creosote deposits. These can be extremely dangerous and are a major cause of chimney fires.
Whilst fire safety is one reason to look out for the Woodsure mark, so is the fact that not burning the right wood could invalidate the warranty of an appliance. Another is, of course, that if you live in a stunning part of the world like the Lake District, you should be wishing to do your utmost to protect the landscape and the environment.
Logs Direct’s sales director, Stephen Talbot, says: “We shall be happy to answer the questions of anyone who is confused about the type of fuel that they are allowed to burn, or which they wish to burn to keep their green credentials intact. Whilst this can be the kiln-dried logs with which they may be familiar, we have other options too, which are very innovative.
“We shall not just be able to assist those homeowners with woodburners, but also those with wood-fired pizza ovens, for which we have our own-brand eco-briquette – Piccante – which the restaurant trade has adopted with great gusto this year.”
The County Show will also present Logs Direct with the opportunity to talk about its fundraising efforts for the Westmorland Red Squirrels group, for which it raised £818.51 last year. Its support of red squirrel conservation is ongoing, as is its support of local woodland schemes that require assistance with coppicing and wood clearance.
Logs Direct’s stand is D163 at the Westmorland County Show.