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According to data, wood-burning stoves offset the decrease in particulate pollution from UK roads.
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According to data, wood-burning stoves offset the decrease in particulate pollution from UK roads.

According to data from the government, increases in damaging emissions from wood-burning stoves have mostly cancelled out the reductions in particulate pollution from road and energy sources in the UK.

The release of PM2.5 and PM10 particles from burning solid fuels, such as wood, to heat homes has risen by 19% from 2012 to 2022. This undermines attempts to reduce pollution through cleaner transportation and energy production methods.

According to government statisticians, this is due to the increasing prevalence of solid fuel appliances, such as wood-burning stoves, in households.

Wood-burning stoves, despite their negative impact on the environment, have become increasingly popular due to their cozy and fashionable appearance. According to data from the Stoves Industry Alliance, sales have increased by 67% in the last three months of 2022 compared to the previous year, with an estimated 1.5 million homes in the UK owning one.

PM2.5 particles are those which are less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, which is small enough to make its way into the human lung. According to a growing body of research, they are responsible for a wide range of health problems. These include heart and lung disease, as well as diabetes, cancer, brain function and premature births.

According to estimates, these stoves cause the premature death of over 400,000 individuals in Europe annually. A recent study by Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, revealed that even environmentally friendly wood-burning stoves emit 450 times more harmful air pollutants than gas central heating. Older stoves, which are no longer sold, were found to produce 3,700 times more pollutants.

According to Dr. Gary Fuller, a scientist specializing in air pollution at Imperial College London, the use of solid fuel for heating homes is hindering efforts to improve air quality and counteract pollution caused by traffic and industry. He likens the impact to something out of a Charles Dickens novel.

The government recommends using dry wood and promoting the purchase of cleaner stoves to address the issue of pollution. However, it is important to convey the message that any use of solid fuel is the most harmful method of heating your home.

The most recent report from Defra indicates progress in certain areas, but also highlights the neglect of certain sources of air pollution. These include the burning of solid fuels in households and air pollution from agricultural activities. The release of ammonia from fertilizers and manure is polluting both our air and waterways. There is a significant potential to collaborate with farmers in order to enhance our environment and well-being, yet they are often excluded from discussions about addressing air pollution.

Residential emissions contribute significantly to PM2.5 levels. Data shows that wood burning for domestic use accounts for 22% of these small particle emissions.

A significant increase in this substance is attributed to the burning of biomass in industrial processes, according to data. The government’s choice to provide additional financial support to the Drax power plant for using trees as fuel has sparked criticism.

Source: theguardian.com