WET FIREWOOD, one of the most polluting types of domestic fuel, is to be phased out of commercial sale from February 2021.

The announcement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was welcomed by UK industry bodies, which wanted the marketplace tightened up against 'unseasoned' woodfuel imports.

Speaking for Confor – the trade body for forestry and wood-using businesses – manager Caroline Ayre said: “Processing and seasoning high-quality firewood is an important business for many of our members. We recommend customers 'Buy local – Burn local' and choose firewood with the Woodsure Ready to Burn label.

“Local firewood not only supports UK jobs and the rural economy, it is also crucial to managing our native woodlands. This is vital to ensure these woodlands’ health and existence as carbon stores and biodiversity habitats for the long term," said Ms Ayre. "Buying local seasoned firewood also helps to protect our woodlands from invasive pests and diseases, which can be imported on wet wood.”

Defra minister George Eustice said: "By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as dry wood we can all play a part in improving the health of millions of people.This is the latest step in delivering on the challenge we set ourselves in our world-leading Clean Air Strategy."