solid fuel association logoApproved Coal MerchantIf you are a coal user you may have been alarmed by recent newspaper reports that the Government may ban bituminous house coal in England. Please be reassured that if there is a ban we believe it will be several years until it comes in but remember nothing has been decided.

Therefore, should these reports come to fruition you can rest assured that coal merchants will have plentiful supplies of manufactured solid fuels and anthracite available as very good alternatives to bituminous house coal. These alternatives can give more heat, less ash, last longer and are less polluting to the atmosphere. Speak to your Local Approved Coal Merchant or for more information please contact the Solid Fuel Association.

Visit our Approved Coal Merchants web page or Tel: 01773 835400



A public consultation was launched in August which runs through to 12th October which focuses on the cleaner domestic burning of wood and solid fuels.

The Government’s Clean Air Strategy states that air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK. The Strategy explains that approximately 38% of UK primary particulate matter emissions come from burning wood and coal in domestic open fires and stoves. Using a competent person to install your appliance, a professional or registered chimney sweep and buying your wood or solid fuels from your approved coal merchant all make a big difference.

The Government are considering a range of options focusing on phasing out the sale of the most polluting products enabling consumers to switch to less polluting alternatives:

  • Consumers who burn traditional house coal switching to alternative fuels (e.g. low sulphur manufactured solid fuels);
  • Consumers switching from wet wood to dry wood (with a moisture content of 20% or less);
  • Introduction of sulphur limits and smoke emission limits for all manufactured solid fuels.

To view all the information and/or contribute to the consultation please visit:-



Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the benefits of solid fuel outdoors. However, they have been linked to several camp-site deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is naturally produced by the combustion of all fuels including both gas and charcoal. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can build up within confined spaces and kill quickly with no warning.

Whether you use a portable hibachi grill, disposable grill, large scale barbecue or even a gas fired model, make sure you keep yourself and others safe by following the basic barbecue rules.

Top four tips for barbecue safety:

  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue into a confined space such as a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking and the coals appear to be dead, the barbecue should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.
  • Never use a barbecue inside to keep you warm.
  • Arrange your cooking area well away from your tent and ensure that there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the area where the barbecue is being used.
  • Always use your barbecue equipment in accordance with the operating instructions.


Following the Government’s recent announcement about the air quality problems caused by wood burning stoves the SFA would like to reassure consumers that as long as the correct fuel is used and the stoves and chimneys are maintained regularly the emissions from your stove will be drastically reduced.

Seasoned or kiln dried ‘Ready to Burn’ wood should only be used.  Under no circumstances should wet or unseasoned wood be burnt as this can cause irrevocable damage to chimneys and your stove. Any wood which has traces of paint or has been treated with chemicals should never be burnt on a stove.

Chimneys should be swept at least twice a year if you are burning mostly wood and the throat plate and airways in stoves should be cleaned at least once a month.  This regular maintenance together with burning the correct fuel will ensure a cleaner burn.



Carbon Monoxide AlarmA recent incident in Devon which triggered a family’s CO alarm could have been avoided by the occupants storing any hot ashes outside their property.

The report in the North Wales Daily Post newspaper had a startling headline ‘The hidden carbon monoxide danger for families even if wood burning stoves or coal fires are safe’ . The headline may have caught many peoples attention but dealt with correctly hot ashes should not be dangerous. Hot ashes should be taken outside and left to cool down before disposing. Keeping them in a bucket smouldering indoors is probably the worst way to deal with any hot ashes but fortunately the family concerned had a carbon monoxide alarm which did its job.

This unfortunate episode just shows how important a carbon monoxide alarm can be, in this instance it could even have been a lifesaver.

Remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly.


Ensure that your Carbon Monoxide Detectors are in good working order. If you are concerned that they are old and might not be in tip-top condition, buy new ones. You can buy them from most DIY/Hardware stores and supermarkets.


“Safety Guide for Solid Fuel Users” is available for download from this site. The guide clearly highlights the three golden rules of safety for solid fuel - proper ventilation, regular sweeping and the correct fuel.
This guide is also available as an A4 double sided leaflet from the SFA and can be ordered on our literature page.
As well as the private solid fuel user, the guide may be of particular interest to local authority housing departments for distribution to their tenants ... download here


solid fuel association logoIt’s a question that people sometimes ask about our distinctive SFA logo.

Well, to get the answer you need to go back to 1988 and our iconic “Real Fire” adverts.

Visit our YouTube account and view the “Real Fire” video



Here are just some of the benefits of Solid Fuel and Wood heating systems:

  • Heating a single room with Solid Fuel is usually cheaper than by oil or gas.
  • Most Solid Fuel appliances are multi-fuel meaning you can burn both coal and wood.
  • A Solid Fuel appliance with a boiler can be linked to many central heating systems to enable you to cut the cost of heating bills whilst you enjoy the benefits of a real fire. For more information download the Link-Up leaflet from our website literature page.
  • A chimney promotes healthy circulation of air in a dwelling.
  • Simple open fires and stoves do not need electricity to operate.
  • There are over 500 Coal Merchants throughout the UK who can deliver fuel straight to your bunker. Supplies of pre-packed wood and coal are also available from supermarkets, DIY stores and garage forecourts but for economy and convenience always buy from your local coal merchant. For details of your nearest Coal Merchant look on the FIND A FUEL MERCHANT section of our website.

A Solid Fuel Heating System could save you money and add to your comfort and security.


There are certain health benefits associated with the open flue function that is necessary for combustion in all solid fuel appliances. The open flue way not only removes the products of combustion safely out of the home but also draws in fresh supplies of air. British Standards specify the minimum ventilation rates for various rooms in domestic dwellings – gas radiant fires and electric heating compare poorly with solid fuel in this respect.

  • The constant cycle of air coupled with continuous heat has two direct benefits:
  • It minimizes the incidence of condensation and mould growth problems which plague so many gas and electric heated homes. Spores of mould are allergenic and a source of bronchial irritation.
    It removes via the chimney other gases and particles in the air which may give rise to bronchial disorders such as asthma, hay fever etc.

Medical research has demonstrated that people living in houses with solid fuel heating are significantly less likely to suffer from asthma and hay fever compared to those living in houses with other forms of heating. Your chimney has other benefits too. It acts as a heat store and will release heat into the dwelling after the fire has gone out.


Installing a chimney these days is not as difficult as you might think. There are specialist installers who can survey your home, provided a quotation and undertake the most suitable installation. With a chimney available, the choice of solid fuel appliances is vast. Contact us for free advice and information.


If you buy your fuel in prepacks from cash & carry outlets, consider saving money by buying in open sacks from your local coal merchant. The fuel will be delivered directly to your bunker or if you haven’t got a bunker they can deliver in prepack bags also.


Let industry experts guide you every step of the way. The Solid Fuel Association has a range of leaflets (many of them you can download from this site) that will tell you all you need to know about solid fuel heating. More than that – we can give you advice on all aspects of solid fuel heating to the choice of appliance and fuels. There are many experts who we can direct you to such as HETAS registered installers and the National Association of Chimney Engineers (NACE) or help you with suppliers for appliances and ancillary products.
A HETAS Registered installer can come and give you a quotation for all your heating requirements. In addition, we can help you with many of the technical aspects and guidance on Building Regulations.

So, if you are thinking of updating or putting in a new solid fuel or wood burning system, get in touch.