Dirty stoves and open fires banned in pol­lu­tion bat­tle

Daily Express - - News - By John Ing­ham En­vi­ron­ment Ed­i­tor

WOOD-BURN­ING stoves are to be tar­geted in the Gov­ern­ment’s “world-lead­ing” war on air pol­lu­tion, En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove re­vealed yes­ter­day.

The stoves and open fires are the sin­gle big­gest source of par­tic­u­late mat­ter emis­sions, blamed for the pre­ma­ture deaths of thou­sands of peo­ple ev­ery year.

New laws will ban the sale of the most pol­lut­ing fu­els and en­sure that only the clean­est stoves are avail­able for sale by 2022.

The strat­egy also in­cludes a £19mil­lion re­search pro­gramme for cleaner in­dus­trial tech­nolo­gies.

It pledges to halve the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ar­eas with air­borne par­tic­u­late mat­ter above World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion guide­lines.

Mr Gove also wants to re­duce air pol­lu­tion from agri­cul­ture, which is re­spon­si­ble for 88 per cent of all UK emis­sions of am­mo­nia gas.

This will in­volve help­ing farm­ers to in­vest in equip­ment and farm­ing meth­ods to re­duce emis­sions.

Mr Gove said: “The ev­i­dence is clear. While air qual­ity has im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years, air pol­lu­tion con­tin­ues to shorten lives, harm our chil­dren and re­duce qual­ity of life. While air pol­lu­tion may con­jure images of traf­fic jams and ex­haust fumes, trans­port is only one part of the story.

“The new strat­egy sets out the im­por­tant role all of us, across all sec­tors of work and so­ci­ety, can play in re­duc­ing emis­sions and clean­ing up our air to pro­tect our health.”

Am­mo­nia can com­bine in the at­mos­phere with other pol­lu­tants to form par­tic­u­lates which are es­pe­cially dan­ger­ous for peo­ple with re­s­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

Air pol­lu­tion is one of the UK’s big­gest threats to pub­lic health be­hind can­cer, obe­sity and heart dis­ease. Bri­tain is com­mit­ted to ban­ning the sale of diesel and petrol ve­hi­cles from 2040.

It is claimed that cut­ting air pol­lu­tion will save Bri­tain £1.7bil­lion a year by 2020, ris­ing to £5.3bil­lion a year from 2030 by re­duc­ing sick days and cut­ting costs to the NHS.

WHO di­rec­tor-gen­eral Dr Te­dros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­sus said the move by the UK was “an ex­am­ple for the rest of the world to fol­low”.

But crit­ics said the strat­egy is nine years late be­cause Bri­tain should have been com­ply­ing with EU air qual­ity laws from 2010.

It fol­lows three em­bar­rass­ing de­feats for the Gov­ern­ment in the courts in the past four years in cases brought by en­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paign­ers Clien­tEarth.

Si­mon Al­cock, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s head of pub­lic af­fairs, said: “This strat­egy doesn’t ad­dress the huge prob­lem of air pol­lu­tion from trans­port that harms peo­ple’s health.”

Si­mon Gille­spie of the British Heart Foun­da­tion added: “Dirty air now rep­re­sents one of the great­est pub­lic health threats fac­ing our gen­er­a­tion.”

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