Plans to phase out the sale of coal and wet wood for domestic burning and encourage the use of cleaner fuels in the home have been welcomed by Maria Caulfield MP.
Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of the pollutant ‘PM2.5’, emitting twice the contribution of industrial combustion and three times the contribution of road transport. 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. These not only produce less smoke and pollution than wet wood or coals, but are also cheaper and more efficient to burn.
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. This will give industry, suppliers and households the time to adapt to the new rules. Similarly, sales of wet wood in units of under 2m3 will be restricted from sale from February 2021, allowing for existing stocks to be used up. Wet wood sold in volumes greater than 2m3 will need to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning from this date.
Maria Caulfield MP said “Wood burning stoves and coal fires are big sources of pollution and I am pleased that the Government has decided to phase out the use of the most harmful types of fuel in favour of cleaner alternatives that are also more efficient and cheaper for consumers. It is important that the air that we breath is as clean as possible to prevent diseases, especially in the young and the elderly, so I welcome this news from the Government ahead of the Environment Bill, which will include further measures to tackle air pollution.”
This announcement builds on measures in the Environment Bill which will make it easier for local authorities to tackle air pollution in their areas, as well as the government’s £3.5 billion plan to reduce harmful emissions from transport, and efforts to reduce emissions from industry.