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Guidance for owners of wood burners and open fires

19 February 2019

We are encouraging owners of wood burners and open fires to follow a few simple steps to reduce people’s exposure to harmful pollutants and improve air quality.

The advice follows the government’s new Clean Air Strategy which outlines ways to tackle harmful emissions, including tougher rules for those with wood burners and open stoves.

According to the strategy, burning solid fuel such as wood or coal in open fires and stoves accounts for 38% of the UK’s emission of particulate matter, the single biggest polluter.

NHS England says around 30% of preventable deaths in the country are due to non-communicable diseases specifically attributed to air pollution.

We are asking owners of wood burners and open fires to:

  • Consider burning less, think about why you are lighting your fire, is it necessary? Not burning is the simplest way of reducing your costs and minimising your impact
  • Only burn dry wood. Buy ‘Ready to Burn’ fuel, look for the logo as a guarantee of good quality dry wood
  • Dry freshly chopped wood before burning as wet wood contains moisture which creates smoke and harmful particulates when burned
  • Use approved smokeless fuels instead of house coal. These produce less carbon and smoke, as well as providing more heat for your home
  • Maintain and service your stove every year
  • Ensure you chimney is swept regularly, up to two times a year is suggested by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Councillor Dyan Jones, our environment portfolio holder, said: “The majority of people are unaware that a wood burning stove fuelled by wet wood emits more particles per hour than a diesel truck.

“That is why we are asking owners of wood burners and open stoves to follow these simple steps. This will ensure they are using their solid fuel appliances efficiently, which will reduce pollution and limit owners’ exposure to harmful pollutants.”

Our Cabinet recently recommended the approval of a climate change policy to form part of our policy framework, focusing on how we can lead the way and encourage others to tackle climate change.

Cllr Jones continued: “This council is committed in working collaboratively to tackle climate change. This is not something we can or should be doing alone, but it is our responsibility as an authority to lead the way in our communities to help enhance and protect South Lakeland’s high-quality environment.”

More information and advice on open fires and wood-burning stoves

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