The traditional Christmas gathering around an open fire is under threat by a government investigation into whether the increasing popularity of wood-burning stoves and traditional open fires is damaging people’s health. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is to launch a consultation in the New Year which will examine pollutants caused by wet wood and smoky coal. Its findings will feed into the Government’s clean air strategy, which is being published in the Autumn. A source told The Daily Telegraph that the consultation will be “very open” and rather than recommending specific policies will invite submissions about the problem. But it is feared that if his department backs tighter restrictions on the burning of wood in homes it will have a huge knock-on effect on families who have spend hundreds of pounds on the fashionable stoves. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has suggested that people could be banned from using wood-burning stoves in highly polluted areas for part of the year. He said cracking down on the use of such stoves was important as road vehicles were responsible for only 50 per cent of pollution in London. He has urged the Government to establish new a ‘Clean Air Act’ to crack down on non-vehicle sources of pollution such as burning wood in homes – as well as from shipping and building sites. There are about 1.5m stoves in the UK and 200,000 are sold annually, with the appliances often marketed as a green form of home heating. However, there has been growing concern over their environmental impact. Researchers at King’s College London have found that wood-burning in the capital accounts for up to 31 per cent of the city’s particulate pollution, up from 10 per cent in the past.
Telegraph 22nd Dec 2017 read more »