Ban on wet wood and coal sales a vital step to improve air quality

21 February 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the Government’s announcement to phase out wet wood and coal from being sold for domestic burning in England.

In January 2019 Defra published its Clean Air Strategy, setting out the actions which the Government would take to reduce emissions from a range of sources, including domestic burning.

Evidence shows that the burning of wood and coal in the home is the largest single contributor to particulate matter pollution - identified by the World Health Organization as the most damaging air pollutant.

Building on the Clean Air Strategy, the Government launched a consultation into the possible introduction of measures on a range of fuels. In response to this consultation, the Government has now announced that it will draft legislation on fuels including wood, manufactured solid fuel, and coal.

Notably there will now be a ban on wet wood and coal sales for domestic burning across England, with a move towards promoting manufactured solid fuels.

Tamara Sandoul, Policy and Campaigns Manager at CIEH, said:

“We welcome the Government’s announcement to phase out wet wood and coal from being sold across England.

Restricting wet wood sales everywhere should make the law easier to enforce and for outlets to comply with. It should also contribute to reducing particulate pollution from domestic wood burners.

However, the Government should also consult on whether domestic wood burning should be restricted in densely populated urban areas and existing smoke control areas.

However, it is vital that the Government properly addresses fuel poverty and that full support is given to those who currently rely on wood and coal as their primary heating source. More funding is needed to help these households insulate their homes, thereby reducing their energy demand and to switch to renewable heating sources.”

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