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Air pollution and woodburners: some home truths

‘WOODBURNERS will be banned’ – you’ve definitely seen headlines like these in the media in recent months.

And why not? Nothing beats a bit of sensationalism for a newspaper to sell a few more copies. Even if the headline isn’t telling the truth.

The problem with this type of fake news is that people can start believing it and it’s challenging to wade against the artificial tide of falsehoods.

Let’s be clear about this – woodburners will NOT be banned. The Government’s Clean Air Strategy was 100 per cent clear about that and if some journalists had actually bothered to look at the documents, they would have written accurate articles instead of the sloppy lies we’ve all had to endure.

What IS happening is that the most polluting fuels such as coal are likely to be banned. Dry wood with a moisture content of 20 per cent or less will still be available as fuel and clean woodburners continue to be used – that’s the official line from Defra.

Still not sure?

This is a direct quote by Defra about the Clean Air Strategy 2019:  “We are not considering banning domestic burning.  The government recognises that households have installed wood-burning stoves and the government is not seeking to prevent their use or installation.  But we are keen to encourage consumers to switch to cleaner burning. This will directly benefit consumers in their homes, as well as improving the local environment.”

And another comment by Defra: “We will legislate to prohibit the sale of the most polluting fuels. We will ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022. We will make changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce. We will give new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution.”

And if you’re wondering if keeping woodburners is still a good idea, Defra also says: “Using cleaner fuels, in a cleaner appliance which is installed by a competent person, knowing how to operate it efficiently, and ensuring that chimneys are regularly swept, will all make a big difference.”

There you go – you can continue to use your woodburner! If you still have questions about this, and you live in Tunbridge Wells or nearby area of Kent – contact James the Sweep on 07587 134589.