Domestic wood burning has become the single biggest source of small particle air pollution in the UK, producing three times more than road traffic, government data shows. Just 8% of the population cause this pollution by burning wood indoors, according to a separate government-commissioned report. It found almost half of those burning indoors were affluent and many chose a fire for aesthetic reasons, rather than heat. Tiny particle pollution is harmful to health as it can enter the bloodstream, be carried around the body and lodge in organs. The government is not planning a ban on wood burners but a ban on the retail sale of wet wood will come into force on 1 May, as will a ban on bags of house coal, the first such restrictions since the clean air acts of the 1950s. Wet wood has not been seasoned and produces higher levels of pollution. The new government statistics show that domestic wood burning in both closed stoves and open fires was responsible for 38% of the pollution particles under 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5) in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. The report said PM2.5 emissions from this source had more than doubled since 2003, to 41,000 tonnes a year, and increased by 1% between 2018 and 2019. Road traffic caused 12% of PM2.5 in 2019. Two-thirds of the people burning indoors used a stove, while a third had open fires, and 96% had alternative sources of heating such as gas or electricity. Most of the indoor burners used seasoned wood but 20% were using wet wood, the research found.
Guardian 16th Feb 2021 read more »
Telegraph 16th Feb 2021 read more »