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.

Writing in May's Forestry Journal, freelance forester Jamie McIntyre described the whole saga as "a bùrach". He wrote: "The farmer, persuaded to plant trees on the farm, can’t now burn his own wood in his new farmhouse.

"The small woodland owner, lucky enough to get planning approval for a new house in or next to his wood, can’t now burn his own wood in it.

"And returning to crofting, a ‘traditional’ crofter may have rights to cut peat for fuel – especially important for those in the more treeless parts of the Highlands – but now finds that he will not be able to burn it in any new house he builds." 

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

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.

Forestry Journal: Gillian MartinGillian Martin (Image: web)

"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".