Why Wood Burning Stoves Are Facing A Fuel Ban From 2021

Amy Packham

The most polluting fuels burned in household stoves and open fires will be phased out from next year to clean up the air, the Government has said.

Owners of wood burners, stoves and open fires will no longer be able to buy coal or wet wood to burn in them, under a ban to be rolled out from 2021.

Plans for the ban were first announced nearly 18 months ago, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has now confirmed it will go ahead.

So why the change – and what do you need to know if have a fire or stove yourself?

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Why is the ban happening?

Plans to phase out the sale of house coal and wet wood have been confirmed as part of efforts to tackle tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into lungs and the blood and cause serious health problems.

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of PM2.5, contributing three times as much of the pollution as road transport, the Environment Department (Defra) said.

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “Cosy open fires and wood-burning stoves are at the heart of many homes up and down the country, but the use of certain fuels means that they are also the biggest source of the most harmful pollutant that is affecting people in the UK.

“By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as dry wood we can all play a part in improving the health of millions of people.”

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When will sales be phased out?

Sales of two of the most polluting fuels, wet wood and house coal will be phased out from 2021 to 2023, to give householders and suppliers time to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels. 

These produce less smoke...

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