Important advice on open fires and woodburning stoves
Together we can improve air quality throughout Elmbridge
In recent years, open fires and woodburning stoves have risen significantly in popularity. However, the smoke from burning causes air pollution which can harm your health and those around you. Traditional house coal or wet wood is major source of the particulate pollutant PM2.5 – which the World Health Organisation identifies as one of the most serious air pollutants for human health. Other pollutants include Organic Gaseous Compounds (OGC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). In Elmbridge, we can work together to improve the quality of the air we breathe, as well as maximising efficiency, by following the simple advice below.
- Choose the right appliance: Wood-burning stoves create less pollution than open fires, but you should choose a stove that is ‘ecodesign ready’ and future-proof yourself. In January 2022, it became illegal to manufacture and sell new stoves that do not comply with ecodesign regulations – we encourage anyone who is considering upgrading their stove to please do so, as these products are substantially more efficient and less polluting.
- Buy ‘Ready to Burn’ fuel: Wet or unseasoned wood holds moisture which contains harmful particulates when burned. Dry wood should have 20% moisture or less – ensure to look for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo as a guarantee of high-quality dry wood.
- Use approved solid fuels: These products generate less smoke compared to house-coal when burned. They can also be more efficient, and therefore more economical.
- Consider burning less: Think about how much fuel you are using and why you are lighting your fire. If it is a secondary heating source, ask yourself if it is necessary.
- Don’t burn treated wood or household rubbish: Treated waste wood and household rubbish can emit harmful fumes and toxic pollutants into your home when burnt.
- Complete regular maintenance: You should maintain your stove annually to maximise efficiency, as well as regularly having your chimney swept, as this reduces the risk of chimney fires.
Councillor Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environmental Health says: “Air pollution impacts us all, and it is vital that we share advice and work together to reach our shared goals. Wood-burning stoves and open fires are popular in the home, but it is worth following key advice to ensure improved air quality.
“As part of our commitment to improve air quality in Elmbridge, Elmbridge Borough Council has produced an Air Quality Action Plan which covers how we will reduce emissions from transport, new development in the area, and how we will closely monitor our progress.”
In addition, Councillor David Young, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change says: “In Elmbridge, we’re moving forward with our ambition for meeting carbon reduction targets. Taking steps towards reducing the use of open fires and woodburning stoves will lead to both reducing our carbon footprint and to cleaner air. This is a key theme for a Sustainable Elmbridge and has a positive impact on all residents.”
Residents can find out more by reading the Air Quality Action Plan and more about Sustainable Elmbridge via the Elmbridge Borough Council website.
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