BURNING ISSUE Wood burning stove ban – what are the new rules and what fuel can I burn? Air pollution is a major public health challenge, and it requires an urgent and bold response. It is also understood that the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, whose Richmond constituency is close to moorlands in north Yorkshire, is sympathetic to those who run grouse estates and shoots. The new policy’s effectiveness will also depend on implementation and closing potential loopholes such as the clause that allows bulk purchases (two cubic metres or more) of wet wood as long as it is sold with advice on how to dry it.
It said: “This government remains dedicated to being a world leader in tackling climate change. In response to inquiries from the Observer about its strategy on peat and whether it intended to press on with a ban on burning, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) made no mention of a ban at all. You can change your cookie settings at any time.
The row comes before the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is due to make a major speech on the environment in the next few weeks. Ministers have been accused of deliberately stalling plans to ban the environmentally damaging process of burning peat bogs, in a further sign of … Peatlands in the UK hold about 400m tonnes of carbon, double the amount of all the UK’s forests put together, and are vitally important to helping tackle climate change. Healthy peatlands have an important role to play in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and helping us reach our net zero target, which is why we have committed £640m through the Nature for Climate Fund to restore 35,000 hectares of England’s peatland by 2025. Read the full government response to the consultation. Grouse shooting on the moors in Scotland, which began on 12 August. However, we must not stop there. What will this mean for households, the environment and the traditional roaring open fire? Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said the government was stalling and had to act before burning starts again next month: “Moorlands lock up millions of tonnes of climate wrecking gases and give important habitats for wildlife. Also known as green or unseasoned wood, it is cheap and widely available in DIY or garden centres, where it is usually sold in sacks or nets. Campaigners have long opposed the practice of burning peat bogs to encourage new heather shoots – a source of food for grouse. Switching to lower-carbon or renewable energy, such as ground-source heat pumps, would make an even bigger difference, but this would require infrastructure investment and incentives from the government to make the alternatives affordable and widely available. Also known as green or unseasoned wood, it is cheap and widely available in DIY or garden centres, where it is usually sold in sacks or nets. This includes tiny particulates known as PM2.5 that are more harmful than bigger flakes of soot because they can penetrate deep into the respiratory system and bloodstream. Ministers have been accused of deliberately stalling plans to ban the environmentally damaging process of burning peat bogs, in a further sign of government support for people who enjoy shooting grouse on moorlands. We are looking at how legislation can achieve this and are considering next steps.”. This is a welcome move from a Government showing its ambition and commitment to tackling air pollution. An earlier version incorrectly referred to the ban on burning coal and wet wood applying to the whole of the UK. This will give industry, suppliers and households the time to adapt to the new rules. This form of pollution consists of tiny particles which penetrate deeply into our body, including lungs and blood, and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most serious air pollutant for human health.
To help improve the air we breathe and ensure householders choose cleaner fuels, sales of coal and wet wood – the two most polluting fuels – will be phased out between 2021 and 2023, giving the public and suppliers time to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels. At least a dozen other towns and cities, including Scunthorpe, Manchester, Swansea and Gillingham, have even higher levels of pollution. Sales of house coal and wet wood in England will be phased out from next year to cut pollution.
Even in London, which has had smoke control areas for more than 60 years, wood burning accounts for up to 31% of PM2.5, according to a study by King’s College.
Amanda Anderson, the director of the Moorland Association, which was set up in the 1980s to counter a decline in moorlands, said: “Careful burning is carried out by our members to control the vegetation above the peat. Published 21 February 2020 From: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Very little, at least in the short term when people are likely to switch to dry wood or manufactured smokeless fuels.
Manufacturers of such fuels will need evidence that they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke, with all manufactured solid fuels needing to be labelled as compliant. Despite their key part in fighting climate breakdown and protecting nature, we’re still yet to see a ban on them being burned. UK buildings have one of the worst records in Europe when it comes to retaining heat.
Professor Stephen Holgate, Royal College of Physicians’ special adviser on air quality said: We know that air pollution causes significant health issues across the life course. As the name suggests, this is a type of fuel – usually in the form of undried fuel logs – with a moisture content of at least 20% that is burned in stoves and fireplaces. When he was environment secretary in 2017, Michael Gove launched a consultation on a new “peat strategy” to consider outlawing peat burning because of its damaging effect on the climate. An estimated 2.5m homes in the UK rely on this or coal for heating. We’ll send you a link to a feedback form. Even after they come into full effect, fire lovers will still be able to collect their own kindling and branches and buy seasoned or kiln-dried logs (as long as they have moisture levels below 20%). These regulations will apply in England only. Owners of wood burners, stoves and open fires will no longer be able to buy house coal or wet wood, under a ban to be rolled out from next year. Sales of all bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021, and the sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants by February 2023. We need a balance.”. A ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars will not be put in place until 2035.