A Brief Guide to biomass and wood fuel

Log burner

1.    Biomass and wood fuel

Biomass is simply any organic matter used as fuel. Technically, the term includes solid, liquid or gas fuels that are renewable or environmentally friendly, however, in this guide we will only be talking about wood fuels.

Wood can be burnt to generate heat for your home, whether you are using an open fireplace, stove (sometimes called a wood or log burner) or biomass boiler. But burning wood creates smoke containing carcinogens, carbon monoxide (CO) and soot particles, which can be harmful to you, your family and the environment.

So if you’re considering installing or starting to use an open fireplace or stove (log-burner) and you live in the City of Portsmouth, you should also consider that their use will negatively impact local air quality.

2.    What you can and can’t burn

Portsmouth does have a designated ‘smoke control’ area, within which only smokeless fuels can be used – except where approved combustion equipment is used.

To check if you are in the smoke control area, see the map.

To check what equipment is approved for use within the smoke control zone and what fuel is allowed click here and which appliances are exempt click here.


3.    Property Suitability

If you do decide to use an open fireplace or a stove (log-burner), make sure that the room in which it is situated is well ventilated, the chimney/flue is swept regularly (twice per year). If you’re using a stove (log-burner), then ensure that it is serviced in-line with the manufacturer guidance.


4.    Further information and useful links

If you do decide to burn wood, make sure you follow DEFRA guidance. The logs should be ‘seasoned’ and thoroughly dried. Never burn waste wood that has been treated in any way (i.e. varnished, painted, etc.) and never burn any other rubbish.

Try to think about when and why you are burning wood and minimise this where possible. The less wood you burn, the lower the cost and fewer emissions are released into the local air.

Useful Links: