Fresh crack­down on log-burn­ers

Min­is­ters launch strat­egy to ban the most pol­lut­ing stoves

Western Daily Press - - Front Page - HAR­RIET LINE [email protected]­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

THE most pol­lut­ing log burner and open fire fu­els will be banned as part of an am­bi­tious strat­egy to tackle air pol­lu­tion an­nounced by the En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary.

Michael Gove called for ac­tion on emis­sions from a va­ri­ety of sources, in­clud­ing in the home, as he set out plans to re­duce peo­ple’s ex­po­sure to par­tic­u­late mat­ter – con­sid­ered the most dam­ag­ing pol­lu­tant.

The pro­pos­als, out­lined in the Gov­ern­ment’s Clean Air Strat­egy, in­clude plans to leg­is­late to pro­hibit the sale of the most pol­lut­ing fu­els and en­sure only the clean­est stoves are avail­able for sale by 2022.

And there will be changes to ex­ist­ing smoke con­trol leg­is­la­tion, as well as new pow­ers for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to take ac­tion in high pol­lu­tion ar­eas.

Stoves and open fires are now the sin­gle big­gest source of par­tic­u­late mat­ter emis­sions, ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment for the En­vi­ron­ment, which in­tends to re­strict sales of wet wood for do­mes­tic burn­ing and ap­ply sul­phur and smoke emis­sion lim­its to all solid fu­els.

Sales of bi­tu­mi­nous or tra­di­tional house coal may also be phased out.

Min­is­ters pre­dict that the mea­sures will cut the cost of air pol­lu­tion to so­ci­ety by £1.7 bil­lion ev­ery year by 2020, ris­ing to £5.3 bil­lion ev­ery year by 2030 - ow­ing to sav­ings from pub­lic health ben­e­fits.

The UK is the first ma­jor econ­omy to adopt goals based on World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) rec­om­men­da­tions, and the UN agency has praised the strat­egy as “an ex­am­ple for the rest of the world to fol­low”.

Launch­ing the plans, 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.

“We must take strong, ur­gent ac­tion. Our am­bi­tious strat­egy in­cludes new tar­gets, new pow­ers for lo­cal gov­ern­ment and con­firms that our forth­com­ing En­vi­ron­ment Bill will in­clude new pri­mary leg­is­la­tion on air qual­ity.

“While air pol­lu­tion may con­jure im­ages of traf­fic jams and ex­haust fumes, trans­port is only one part of the story and 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.”

The strat­egy also con­tains plans to re­duce am­mo­nia emis­sions from farm­ing, with a re­quire­ment for low emis­sions farm­ing tech­niques and plans to reg­u­late to min­imise pol­lu­tion from the use of fer­tilis­ers.

Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock said en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors de­ter­mine around 30% of a per­son’s healthy life ex­pectancy, and warned that air pol­lu­tion poses the “sin­gle great­est en­vi­ron­men­tal threat to hu­man health”.

He added: “Breath­ing dirty air is as­so­ci­ated with a host of health prob­lems, from asthma to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and lung can­cer, and all too often it is the most vul­ner­a­ble - chil­dren, older peo­ple and those from poorer back­grounds - who are hit hard­est. In short: clean air helps you live longer.

“No one can tackle air pol­lu­tion alone so it is a duty of Gov­ern­ment to act for us all. We are de­ter­mined to clean up our en­vi­ron­ment and are tak­ing the lead with this Clean Air Strat­egy.

“We have made strides for­ward over the past few years and the ac­tion we are tak­ing to­day will save lives and im­prove the health of the na­tion – both for those of us here to­day and for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Si­mon Gille­spie, chief ex­ec­u­tive at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion, wel­comed the pro­pos­als but called for them to be quickly made into law.

He said: “We ur­gently need these guide­lines adopted into na­tional law, to ac­cel­er­ate co­or­di­nated, bold and am­bi­tious ac­tion that will pro­tect peo­ple’s heart and cir­cu­la­tory health wher­ever they live in the UK.”

Air pol­lu­tion con­tin­ues to shorten lives, harm our chil­dren and re­duce qual­ity of life

MICHAEL GOVE

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