With wood burning stoves and coal fires being the single largest source of the pollutant PM2.5 – emitting twice the contribution of industry and three times the contribution of road transport – these measures will help to tackle a form of pollution that penetrates deep into our hearts, lungs, and blood, and has been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most harmful air pollutant for human health.
Sales of wood in units under 2m3 by February 2021 must be below 20% moisture content. This means that all those garage forecourts, garden centres, and local suppliers will not be able to continue to sell wet wood. Sales of wood over 2m3 will still be allowed but the customer must be made aware that it is not for immediate burning but must be stored until correctly dried.
Sales of bagged traditional house coal in units under 2m3 will be phased out by February 2021, as will the sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants by February 2023, allowing the public to switch to cleaner alternatives such as processed smokeless, however here will also be limitations on the sale of manufactured solid fuels for domestic combustion from February 2021, with only those fuels with a low sulphur content and which emit a small amount of smoke being permitted for sale.
These alternatives not only produce less smoke and pollution that wet wood or coals, but are also cheaper and more efficient to burn, meaning that householders – including those who rely on stoves and open fires for heat – will not see their fuel costs rise.