On Saturday 1st May, new legal restrictions came into force on the kinds of fuels that people will be able to buy to burn at home. People with log burners and open fires can still use them, but will be required to buy cleaner alternatives, rather than wet wood or coal. The news was covered by the I, BBC News and Sky News, among others.
These cleaner alternatives – such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels – reduce harmful emissions by up to 50% in people’s homes. They are also being just as easy to source and more efficient to burn.
The legislation forms part of a wider set of actions to tackle air pollution, including measures in the Environment Bill to set an ambitious, legally-binding target to reduce particulate matter.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
Burning cleaner fuels is a more efficient option for households across England, helping reduce our exposure to this incredibly harmful pollutant and benefitting the environment. Cleaner fuels are also better for consumers as they create less smoke and soot and more heat.
This legislation marks the latest step in delivering on the challenges we set ourselves in our Clean Air Strategy, making sure that both we and future generations can breathe cleaner air.
We know air pollution at a national level has reduced significantly since 2010 – with emissions of fine particulate matter down 11% and nitrogen oxide 32% – but there is still a huge amount to do to tackle pollution from all sources, including transport, agriculture, industry and domestic burning.
Harriet Edwards, Senior Policy and Projects Manager for Air Quality at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said:
Air pollution is harmful to everyone but for the millions of people in the UK with a lung condition such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it can put them at risk of suffering potentially life-threatening asthma attacks or flare-ups.
Alongside road traffic, wood and coal burning is a major source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution, the most worrying form of pollution to human health. It’s vital that we tackle all of these sources of air pollution and raise awareness about the dangers of air pollutants so people can make the best choices for their own health as well as the health of others around them.
The sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants will be able to continue until May 2023.