Are you worried the government is planning to ban log burners and multi-fuel stoves? Don't be. The Clean Air Strategy, published today, sets out the government's plans to educate consumers and introduce measures that will make sure people who already own a stove burn cleaner fuels and therefore emit fewer pollutants. It'll also ensure new stoves are highly efficient by 2022.
The new Clean Air Strategy promises to cut particulate matter - the sum of all particles suspended in air, many of which are hazardous - by 30% by 2020 and 46% by 2030. Itwill tackle pollution from a number of areas including transport, farming and domestic burning.
According to the government report, burning solid fuel (such as wood and coal) currently produces 38% of the UK's emissions of particulate matter. Many people are unaware emissions in the home increase personal exposure to pollutants and contribute significantly to our overall national emissions.
Luckily, we can all do our bit to make a difference, from reducing how much we burn and using the right fuel to only buying an efficient stove if you're upgrading yours or keen to get one.
Wood creates more smoke - and potentially harmful emissions - if it doesn't have a good enough supply of oxygen. It also increases sooty build-up in your chimney, which could restrict gasses from escaping. Use these tips below to ensure your stove doesn't.
Defra-exempt stoves (also called Defra-approved) make it harder for wood to smoulder and stop it from ever being completely starved of oxygen. If you need to update your stove, or buying new we'd recommend looking for one of these.
It's also worth keeping in mind that, at present, all stoves must be at least 60% efficient. But by 2022, all stoves produced in the EU have to be at least 80% efficient.Some stoves on sale, called Ecodesign Ready, already meet this criteria. See our guide to for more information.
Some types of fuel, such as wet logs and house coal, produce far more particulate matter than dry logs and low-sulphur smokeless fuels, such as anthracite coal.
The government plans to bring into force legislation that will mean only the more efficient fuels will be on sale. This will include reducing the amount of wet wood on sale, or it only being bought to be seasoned at home, and restricting the amount of sulphur in fuels.
Burning wet wood produces more pollution and sooty deposits, and is less efficient, as it takes energy to burn off the water first.These practical tips will help you use the right fuel:
Burning smokeless coal is more environmentally friendly than using house coal, as it produces fewer emissions.House coal also creates more ash, which means you'll need to clean out your stove more frequently.
Smokeless coal is an umbrella term for a few different types of coal that produce less smoke as they burn. It includes anthracite coal - this occurs naturally, but can also be manufactured.
There is already a limit in Smoke Control Areas on burning fuel containing more than 2% of sulphur. The government plans to extend this nationwide and ensure that there is more clarity around the sulphur content of fuel when sold. Here's what you can look out for now: