Burn­ing ques­tion

Stoves and fires in the spot­light

Yorkshire Post - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

DUR­ING THE grim win­ter months, re­turn­ing home to a log burner or open fire pro­vides warmth and com­fort to count­less house­holds.

But it can also come at a con­sid­er­able cost to the en­vi­ron­ment through in­creased air pol­lu­tion, which is at il­le­gal lev­els in nu­mer­ous places through­out York­shire, in­clud­ing in York, Leeds and Sh­effield to name but three.

Stoves and open fires are now the sin­gle big­gest source of par­tic­u­late mat­ter emis­sions - con­sid­ered the most dam­ag­ing pol­lu­tant.

As part of the Gov­ern­ment’s Clean Air Strat­egy, it has now been re­vealed the most pol­lut­ing log burner and open fire fu­els will be banned, with plans to re­strict sales of wet wood for do­mes­tic burn­ing and ap­ply sul­phur and smoke emis­sion lim­its to all solid fu­els. Some coal sales may also be phased out.

The move – com­bined with pro­pos­als to make farm­ers cut am­mo­nia emis­sions and fer­tiliser use – may be seen by some as an at­tack on ru­ral and Mid­dle Eng­land, but im­prov­ing air qual­ity specif­i­cally and the en­vi­ron­ment more gen­er­ally re­quires life­style changes from all of us and, as the once-con­tro­ver­sial plas­tic bag tax has showed, when done prop­erly Gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion can be ef­fec­tive whilst hav­ing min­i­mal im­pact on peo­ple’s day-to-day lives.

Rightly, man­u­fac­tur­ers will also have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure only the clean­est stoves are avail­able for sale.

Air pol­lu­tion is as­so­ci­ated with health prob­lems, from asthma to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and lung can­cer, and it is of­ten chil­dren and the el­derly who are the most at risk. This is a burn­ing is­sue that, in a mod­ern so­ci­ety, must be tack­led.

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