Published Monday 22 January 2024 at 10:47
A ground-breaking campaign around raising awareness of wood burners and air pollution is taking place this month.
Called Clean Air Night, it will take place on Wednesday, January 24th, and aims to highlight the impact that wood burning can have on the environment and people’s health.
It is run by Global Action Plan, which campaigns for cleaner air across the UK.
Burning wood in closed stoves and open fires causes air pollution – so, if you have a wood burner, you can do your bit to help reduce this by following the official advice.
In Blackburn and Darwen, Environmental Health Officers will be visiting people over the next few weeks and giving advice to anybody where they see significant smoke emissions.
They are also inviting people to contact them if they want to check that their wood burning stove and fuel complies with the law.
Despite some popular myths about wood burning, it is actually more expensive if you are buying your wood and less environmentally friendly than other forms of heating and can have a negative effect on your health:
- Wood burning can be more expensive than other forms of heating
- It harms your health – lighting fires in our homes is the largest source of harmful small particulate matter air pollution in the UK
- It harms the planet – wood burning creates more harmful CO2 emissions compared to other forms of heating
Parts of Blackburn with Darwen are in Smoke Control Areas, which means there are controls over the kind of solid fuels that can be burnt and the type of stove they can be burnt on.
The Council administers and enforces the smoke control areas in Blackburn with Darwen, which includes giving advice on smokeless fuels and exempt appliances. We also respond to complaints by members of the public and may take action where smoke control area laws are broken. Residents can support Clean Air Night by making sure that they comply with the requirements of the smoke control area.
To comply with the law in a smoke control area you must either burn an “authorised fuel” or burn conventional fuel on an “exempt fireplace”. It is essential that if burning wood on exempt fireplace that it is properly dried.
the main urban areas of Blackburn with Darwen are within the smoke control area, more detail can be found here: www.blackburn.gov.uk/smoke-control-areas.There is also an online map – https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/sca/.
For more on Clean Air Night, go to: www.actionforcleanair.org.uk/campaigns/clean-air-night
Here are some more useful links where you can check the safest way to use your wood burner, including the correct burning fuel:
Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Wellbeing, said:
Using a wood burner or solid fuel stove triples the level of harmful air pollution in your home and can cause serious health issues as well as hitting your wallet hard with higher costs.
The health issues caused by pollution can include a wide range of serious health problems, including heart and lung disease.
Clean Air Night is an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers that can exist when you burn solid fuels in the home. We want to help people to be able to heat their homes as safely as possible and reduce harmful air pollution in their home and outside it.”
Councillor Jim Smith, Executive member for Environment, said:
I’m really pleased we are supporting the first ever Clean Air Night campaign. The fact is that wood smoke air pollution is often unseen as it builds up in neighbourhoods after dark when people light their log burners in the early evening, and this can affect people’s health in many ways.
It’s really important people understand the cost that wood burning can have to their health, the health of their communities around them, and to their wallet as well.”
For support with fuel costs, you can find more information on the Council’s cost of living support pages: https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/cost-living-support
You can also request more information or advice about the smoke control area. Call: 01254 267699 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org