Stricter emissions regulations state new stoves in homes in “smoke control areas” are only allowed to emit 3g of smoke per hour. This is down from the previous limit of 5g per hour.
The rules, which are part of the Government’s new 25-year environmental plan, cover a majority of England’s towns and cities. On-the-spot fines can be issued to anyone found to be disobeying them, BBC News reports.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says log burners are the biggest source of particles of air pollution, called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which enter people’s lungs and blood. Some 1.5 million homes in the UK use wood for fuel but burning wood and coal in open fires and stoves is responsible for almost two-fifths (38 per cent) of the UK’s emissions of PM2.5.
To put this into context, 16 per cent come from industrial combustion, 12 per cent from road transport and 13 per cent from the use of solvents and industrial processes. A wood burning stove, therefore, emits more particles on an hourly basis than a diesel lorry.
In addition to limiting how much PM2.5 wood burners are allowed to emit, the Government says it will help councils to “better enforce” smoke control areas. This includes being allowed to fine households up to £300 if their chimneys are emitting too much smoke, and even pursuing a criminal case if they fail to comply.
The Government is making the rules for log burners more robust as part of its 25-year plan instead of imposing a blanket ban on burning fuels. This is because some households use them to supply heating and for cooking.