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.
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.
Wood burners also triple the level of harmful pollution particles inside homes and should be sold with a health warning, scientists warned in December.
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Very interesting Liz. Thank you for highlighting this extremely important bit of research.
I don’t have a wood burner myself but what should people be burning instead?
I think the likes of Gokyuzu, Diyarbakir and Antipliler are your first port of call as they're doing it on an industrial scale.
Thanks for sharing Liz. I had no idea they were so polluting, we have a fireplace in our house but have never used it because we have central heating. I suppose it's easy to count cars on the road and try to make a difference but much harder to regulate what people do at home. I remember GLATs reporting that domestic gas boilers were the cause of a fair percentage of pollution, I have no idea if they included stats from wood burning fires though.
Just came across this old post whilst googling haringey & woodburners.
I wrote to haringey abut 6 months old and got the usual 'blah blah blah'.
Smoke from local woodburners (not sure how many) here in Crouch End is a very serious problem for my young family. Our daughter Kate has very bad asthma and we find it is a real problem from October onwards.
Living in an old victorian house means we have very drafty windows and the air in the bedrooms is very acrid - I have resorted to taping them up as best I can with masking tape.
Its like clockwork ... Thursday night, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday ...
Part of the problem like many houses in the area - we are terraced and the smoke gets trapped in what is like a valley with a thermal inversion. A bit like when you think you will breath fresh air in an alpine village and you find it very polluted.
I told Haringey that I consider them liable for any resulting health issues... but again 'blah blah blah'.
I wish people realised the harm they are actually doing to others... its a fashion and comfort thing .. they look & feel nice .. but they are killing us.
From what I can remember, the clean air act prohibited the burning of low-grade coal and wood for domestic use in cities. I'm not sure how many houses in Harringay use wood burning stoves, but I wouldn't have thought it would be that many, users of AGAs/Rayburns etc would more likely burn quality or eco coal. There does now seem to be a fad for 'fire pits' in gardens, but (as above) it is nothing in comparison to the leaden hued clouds sitting above us being generated from local restaurants.