West Sussex County Times

Please don’t use a burning stove

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You have in the past very kindly printed some of my letters on the dangers to our health and the environmen­t from the use of wood/coal burning stoves.

There has been quite a proliferat­ion of these in the last couple of years, including amongst our friends and neighbours, who think my letters are highly amusing and refuse to take the matter seriously.

Recently, however, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation issued a report which urged people with an alternativ­e means of heating to stop using their woodburner­s.

The report went on to say that, the reason is because of the fine sooty particles the stoves release into the atmosphere and, as research has shown, indoors into the home.

The burning of wood and coal releases fine particulat­e matter (PM2.5), the most worrying form of air pollution for human health, with around 40 percent of outdoor particulat­e matter caused by wood-burners, coal fires and open fires.

The report quoted the medical director at the Asthma and British Lung Foundation Partnershi­p as saying, ‘to protect yourself and others, especially children who are particular­ly vulnerable as their lungs are smaller and still developing, avoid buying a wood-burning stove or using an open fire if you have another source of fuel to cook and heat your home with’.

In this area, these stoves are nothing more than a fashion statement, as every house has a gas boiler for central heating and hot water and the stoves only provide heat to one room, which already has a radiator anyway.

It is ironic that, when the Government is attempting to persuade the population to open their windows to limit the spread of Covid-19, you cannot do so around here, because the house simply fills up with the smoke from somebody’s fire.

Sometimes, it feels as though I am back in London, growing up in the 50s, when the smog was frequently so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face and if you think I’m exaggerati­ng come round some evening.

This really is a serious issue and perhaps this letter might make people think again about their use and at least persuade them to use the stoves less.

ROBERT BISHOP Broomfield Drive, Billingshu­rst

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