This month’s article by Chris Franklin, Managing Director at Ranheat Engineering, looks at the things that OFGEM and the BSL are picking up on as they carry out their inspections.

Since the end of March 2021, some applicants who could prove they had committed to a project – for example, if they were in the process of applying for planning or Local Authority permits – were able to apply for a Coronavirus extension, as long as the application and installation was to complete by the end of March 2022.

Ofgem and the BSL register are now actively carrying out routine inspections on RHI accredited installations to ensure that the operation and maintenance of the boiler is being carried out.

If the installation is non-compliant, payments from the government will be withheld or the installation can be thrown off of the scheme. If the BSL spot non-compliance, they notify the local authority and Ofgem.

Here are some of the areas they will be looking at:

Was planning or permitted development given in writing for the chimney? If not, then non-compliance.

Does the wood manufacturing process that produces the fuel for the installation have a part B permit? If required under guidance note PGN-602 (more than 1,000m3 of wood or wood-based products processed in a 12 month period.) If not, then non-compliance.

  • Does the site have an exemption to burn waste (less than 50kgs/hr. or a permit for a SWIP (small waste incineration plant up to 90 kgs/hr) or a part B permit. If not, then non-compliance.
  • Is the installation in a smoke control area? Then the boiler must be an exempt appliance as listed on DEFRA’s website. If not, non-compliance.
  • Does the chimney have chimney height approval from the local authority? This must be in writing or if not, non-compliance.
  • Is the chimney within 2km of a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest)? If yes, then full chimney modelling required for chimney height determination. If not, non-compliance.
  • Is the installation serviced by the manufacturer at least annually? If not, non-compliance.
  • If burning over 90kgs per hour is the plant tested annually by an independent test house for all emissions? If not, non-compliance.
  • Are daily and weekly logs of visual and olfactory emissions being noted and recorded? If not, non-compliance.

The points listed above are not the full total of areas being looked at. Larger plants over 1MW have additional requirements such as fuel reporting and recordings.

Ranheat is seeing an ever-increasing number of companies contacting us over maintenance and non-compliance issues. A lot of Eastern European systems found their way into the UK woodworking industry at the peak of the tariff rates for the RHI. Unfortunately, the companies supplying these appliances have disappeared. The customers were never made aware of the need for permits and permissions and are now left with a non-compliant installation and are being removed from the RHI.

So how did this come about? Well, a lot of the systems from Europe were actually designed to work with wood pellets or Virgin woodchip, not with industrial wood-waste. Even if the fuel is 100% virgin timber, if it comes from a wood manufacturing process then it needs the permits and permissions as it is classed as an industrial waste product, and as such needs to be permitted.

For a large number of the sales, people never made the customer aware of the requirements, either through lack of knowledge on the requirements or just to get the sale.

So, if you’re one of the sites that has a non-compliance issue or issues, Ranheat are here to help. Ranheat – as the UK’s leading manufacturer of industrial wood-fired heaters and boilers – are able to help with obtaining compliance. 

In some cases, it is just helping with the permits and consents, or modifying installations to make them compliant. This can be the introduction of ceramic filtration to the flue gasses or modifying the combustion system for NOx reduction.

Ranheat can also manufacture spare parts, such as grates and augers, that can no longer be sourced from Europe because of delays due to Covid and Brexit. 

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