Scottish government to review wood burning stove restrictions

A wood burning stove
[Getty Images]

The Scottish government will review a new law that effectively bans wood burning stoves in new build homes.

The policy was designed to help reduce air pollution and tackle climate change, but rural communities had called for a rethink.

Gillian Martin, the minister for climate action, told Holyrood she would adapt the New Build Heat Standard regulations to suit the differing needs of urban and rural areas.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes previously said she had concerns about the ban, citing the impact it could have on older people in her Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency.

The Conservatives described the announcement as a "screeching u-turn" from the government.

The rules had aimed to ensure that heat pumps and heat networks were used instead of oil and gas boilers, or bioenergy sources such as wood and log burning stoves, fire places and firepits.

Protestors against the legislation had said they didn't have access to the main gas supply and relied on log burners for heat during power cuts.

Homes that already had the appliances in place were not affected by the new legislation, which took effect from 1 April.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin
Gillian Martin announced the review [Getty Images]

Ms Martin stated that she had been "listening to the concerns raised" and she would look to adapt the legislation to address "issues of inflexibility".

She said: "The outcome of this review will ensure resilience to interruptions of electricity and heating supply, a respect for rural communities cultures and traditions and sustainable systems.

"I want to ensure climate friendly alternatives to direct emissions are promoted in appropriate ways across Scotland with no unintended consequences with regard to fuel poverty and sustainability, particularly in rural communities."

She added that the review would be carried out "in short order".

Wood being placed in a stove
Rural communities had raised concerns about the legislation [Getty Images]

Scottish Conservatives rural affairs spokeswoman Rachael Hamilton said the ban should be reversed entirely.

She said: "Woodburning stoves are often the only source of heat in emergency situations or when extreme weather strikes and this ban totally ignored the realities of rural life.

“SNP ministers now need to go further and reverse this ban altogether as a matter of urgency to give full reassurance to those across rural Scotland."