UK government starts consultation on cutting pollution from domestic burning in England

21 August 2018

Article: 52/3306

Proposals to promote cleaner domestic burning and cut pollution by prohibiting the sale of the most polluting fuels in England have been laid out in a consultation published on 17 August 2018.

The burning of wood and coal in the home is the largest single contributor to particulate matter pollution, identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the most damaging air pollutant. Particulate matter is formed of tiny particles that can get into the body and lodge in major organs, causing short- and long-term health problems. Domestic burning contributes 38% of particulate matter pollution, compared with 16% from industrial combustion and 12% from road transport.

The UK government aims to ensure that only the cleanest fuels will be available for sale in the future. Delivering on a commitment in the government’s Clean Air Strategy, the consultation proposes preventing 8,000 tonnes of harmful particulate matter from entering the atmosphere each year by: 

  • restricting the sale of wet wood for domestic burning 
  • applying sulphur standards and smoke emission limits to all solid fuels 
  • phasing out the sale of traditional house coal

The government also seeks to make sure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022. This will bring benefits for consumers and householders as burning cleaner fuels and using these devices produces less smoke, soot and more heat.

Source: UK Government, 17 August 2018