Why the laws around wood-burning stoves and open fires are changing

New national laws prohibiting the use of certain fuels for wood burners, stoves and open fires will soon be brought into effect by the government.

The move is intended to reduce pollution, and eventually only cleaner fuels and stoves will be sold for domestic use.

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Local councils will soon have the power to designate 'clean air zones' (where all burning is banned) and to bring in 'no burn days' across their area.

Reducing health risks and saving money

The new legislation aims to halve the number of people living in areas where the levels of PM2.5 (particulate matter) are above safe levels set by 2025. Dangerous levels of PM2.5 can cause health problems such as heart disease, strokes and lung cancer.

According to experts, 38 per cent of PM2.5 in the air comes from household wood burners or open fires, which only 7.5 per cent of homes have.

As well as reducing health risks, the new fuel laws are expected to cut the cost of air pollution to society by £1 billion per year by 2020, and by £2.5 billion per year by 2030.

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Not the only source of pollution

Of course, wood burners and open fires are by no means the only source of pollution in the UK. For this reason, owners of diesel-powered machines and generators will also be expected to source cleaner fuel.

There is currently pressure on the government to significantly lower the amount of pollution created by transport. As a result, the planned phasing out of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans should be in place by 2040.

There is also a plan in place to provide those particularly vulnerable to air pollution with a personal air quality messaging system about the day's forecast.

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