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Uncertainty about pollution impact of woodburners – new scientific review

You will have seen the media headlines about woodburners having a devastating impact on the environment – now scientists say the data is doubtful.

HETAS and Woodsure, two respected not-for-profit organisations in the solid fuel industry, commissioned an independent scientific review. Scientists were given the task of examining the effect of domestic burning on the pollution levels in the UK. DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 says that 38 per cent of particulate matters derives from solid fuel burning – but the scientific review says this is false data because no distinction is given between the alternative sources for burning, i.e. different appliances. You can read more about the report here.

What does that mean for customers of James the Sweep – Master Chimney Sweep for Tunbridge Wells and nearby areas of Kent and East Sussex? It means that the old saying ‘you can’t believe all you read in the papers’ holds true. We need to take air pollution very seriously but it’s also important to be clear about where particulate matter comes from and the effect on the nearby environment. Regular chimney sweeping, using dry wood and effective burning methods all help to ensure that domestic burning is an eco-friendly method for heat.

If you have any questions about that, ask your local chimney sweep: James. Contact him on 07587 134589 to get free advice on any aspect of domestic burning and chimneys.

Meanwhile, let’s also remember the additonal benefits of burning wood at home. Not only an eco-friendly method for heating but it’s also cost effective and a psychologically positive heat source, which is of tremendous benefit to family, friends and visitors (notwithstanding current Covid restrictions!), especially in the colder months of year.

So… please… the next time your see a dramatic news headlines announcing that domestic wood burning is harmful. Take it with a pinch of scientific salt. Not all scientists agree on this. As the cited report says, the Government has admitted that the methods for data collection on domestic combustion stats is not reliable. Enjoy your wood burning stove and ask James the Sweep for personal guidance on safe, eco-friendly and effective methods for domestic burning.