20 Nov 2017 Are wood burners about to be banned?
There has been a lot in the headlines lately about air quality. From airports to diesel cars, with a raft of studies and messages to think about air quality and the implications on our health and future. To address the problem there have also been a number of policies and changes that have been introduced, including the new toxicity charge, or T-charge, that came into force on the 23rd October for older cars. Closer to home, literally, is the idea that wood burners are about to be banned. Is that the case?
Fear not! Headlines are meant to be attention grabbing and the reality is not quite how it is being communicated by some of the media. Read beyond the headlines and you will find that your new wood burning stove is safe. There are a few things to keep in mind though as well as some that you can do to help reduce the levels of air pollution and contribute to the improvement of your local air quality.
Why is air quality in the headlines?
With more and more vehicles on the road, greater demand for heat and electricity, and changes to the climate affecting our weather patterns and temperature, air quality has been deteriorating for a number of years now. Emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates from exhausts and industry stay in the atmosphere and we then breathe them in which is harmful to us. This becomes worse when we have cold, still days as there is no wind to disperse the pollutants and they become trapped in the lower atmosphere.
How do wood burners contribute to the problem?
When wood burns it releases small particulates, known as PM2.5. These are tiny particles which have been found to be the most harmful type as we breathe them in and they stay in our lungs, exacerbating existing heart and lung conditions including asthma. Studies have shown that wood burning now accounts for over 30% of particulate matter (up from 10% previously). However, wood is more carbon neutral than some other fuel sources so it’s not all bad.
Open fires are a particular problem – think large bonfires and burns in the back garden – and regulations have been in place for a while banning them in smoke control areas.
What can I do?
There are few things you can do to help deal with the problem of poor air quality:
- Make sure that you use a Defra approved wood burner, regardless of whether or not you live in a smoke control area. Our approved range ensures that particulates are burned two or three times inside the burner so that the particulate matter finally released is much lower.
- Use good quality wood in your stove. Our kiln-dried hardwood logs are sustainably sourced in the UK, making them more environmentally friendly.
- Keep your wood is dry so that it burns most efficiently
- Check your chimney is regularly cleaned and properly lined and that your burner is installed correctly to maximise burning efficiency and minimise emissions to atmosphere.
- Don’t burn rubbish, take it to a recycling/disposal centre where it can be dealt with properly
- Don’t have open fires that will release all pollutants into the atmosphere
- Never use old wood that has paint or other chemicals on it
- Walk or use public transport instead of driving where possible
- Don’t let your vehicle engine idle, it’s better to turn it off if you are stopping for more than a couple of minutes
For more information or for advice on buying an approved wood burning stove, Fiveways Fires & Stoves is here to help. Just give us a call on 020 8127 4747 or drop us a line at for a chat or a free, no-obligation quote.