UK govt to ban sales of house coal, wet wood to cut pollution
The sale of bags of coal and wet wood for domestic fires will be banned in England from February next year, the government said on Friday.
The Department for the Environment said wood-burning stoves and coal fires were the single largest source of fine particles, which have been identified by the World Health Organisation as the most dangerous form of air pollution as their microscopic size penetrated the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
Sales of all bagged traditional house coal will be phased out by February 2021, and the sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants by February 2023 to give industry, suppliers and households the time to adapt to the new rules, the department said in a statement.
Similarly, sales of wet wood in units of under two cubic metres will be restricted from sale from February 2021, allowing for existing stocks to be used up. Any sold greater in size will come with advice on how to dry it before burning from this date.
Emissions from wet wood, which has a moisture content higher than 20%, are at least twice as high as from kiln-dried or seasoned wood.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said air pollution was the “gravest environmental threat to human health we face today”.
“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.”