Wood-burning – Inconvenient Truth, Part 2

Sadiq Khan asks for powers to control wood-burning

Part one of this blog was on the inconvenient truth that burning wood, especially in our cities, is a major contributor to particulate air-pollution that’s killing an estimated 29,000 people a year in the UK.

It describes how to be neighbourly and minimise your air-pollution:

In the 13 months since Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London, there have been 7 ‘red alert’ air pollution incidents, when Londoners were advised to stay indoors if possible.

Now he has called for only the least-polluting ecodesign woodstoves to be on sale after 2022 – and asked for powers in a revised Clean Air Act to set tighter controls on burning solid fuels from 2025.  If granted, this will probably enable any UK city to:

  • ban all burning of wood or coal in “zero-emission zones” that suffer the worst air quality. These will probably be small areas in city centres.
  • bring in further restrictions over wider areas when there’s high air pollution.

“In an attempt to reassure the thousands of Londoners who bought the stoves in good faith, the focus will be on educating owners not to burn wood during bad air quality episodes.”

Those of us with fires or stoves can do the right thing now:

  • don’t burn coal: it has much higher carbon emissions than wood
  • don’t use an open fire, or if you must occasionally, block the chimney at other times
  • use woodstoves in efficient, less polluting ways, as described in part 1
  • when there’s poor air quality, avoid burning wood or coal
  • If you plan to fit a new woodstove, buy one that’s ecodesign ready

Woodstoves still provide low-carbon heating and create that cosy feeling. Let’s use them cleanly.
On 8th & 14th October come to see and discuss this at our Eltisley Avenue Open Eco HomeTom Bragg

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