A wood burning stove ban in Scotland?

Recently, there’s been a lot of confusion over a wood burning stove ban in Scotland. In particular, people are worried that a change to Scottish law means they’ll now have to rip out their stoves.

However, the ban only applies to homes built after 1 April 2024. It has no impact on existing properties.

Read on to find out more about the actual terms of the wood burning stove ban.

Are wood burners banned in Scotland?

From 1 April 2024, new build homes in Scotland won’t be able to use woodburning stoves as their primary form of heating. This includes fireplaces and firepits that burn wood.

However, there are some exceptions. You might still be able to install a wood burner in a new build if:

  • it’s an emergency heating system
  • it’s solely for the purpose of frost protection
  • your home was built under a warrant you applied for before 1 April 2024 and you are now altering or extending it

It’s very important to note that the ban does not apply to existing homes. If you already have a wood burner, you don’t have to get rid of it.

What are the new wood burning stove regulations?

The New Build Heat Standard sets the rules for heating systems in new build properties.

Under this law, if you apply for a building warrant after 1 April 2024, you have to install a clean heating system. That means you can’t install an oil or gas boiler, or a bioenergy system, such as a wood burning stove.

Instead, new builds will need to be heated by clean heating systems. This includes heat pumps and heat networks.

The New Heat Standard only applies to new builds.

What about wood burners in existing homes?

The rules for wood burners in existing properties will be covered by the Heat in Buildings Bill, which closed its consultation phase in March 2024.

Under the Bill’s current proposals, existing homes won’t need to get rid of their wood burning stoves. However, they will only be able to use their wood burner as back up (secondary) heating. They will still need to install a clean system – such as a heat pump – as their primary heating source.

Changeworks’ response 

Broadly, we welcome the move away from polluting heat systems like wood burners. According to the Scottish Government, homes produce around 13% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Non-domestic buildings account for around 7%. These statistics make it clear that we can’t reach net zero without moving to clean heating systems. 

However, it’s important that our transition to net zero is a just one. This includes making sure that there is minimal risk to the energy security of Scottish homes, particularly in remote, rural, and island communities.

The New Heat Standard and the proposed Heat in Buildings Bill shouldn’t put these off-grid households at risk:

  • New homes will be built to a much higher standard of energy efficiency than existing properties. This means they will be more suitable for clean heating systems. There is still also still the option to have a wood burning stove as an emergency heating system.
  • Furthermore, existing homes will be able to keep their wood burning stove as secondary heating. As in new builds, in the event that your primary clean heating isn’t available, you can still use your wood burning stove.

However, there is still work to be done to make the transition to clean heating is as smooth and fair as possible. We need to see much greater support from the government for retraining and upskilling the supply chain. These installer businesses are critical in the journey to net zero and must be able to meet the level of demand the transition requires. This is especially true in Scotland’s rural communities, where the skills gap is most keenly felt.