Stop burning coal and wood, Hackney urges residents

Hackney Council will send staff around the borough knocking on doors to explain the air pollution impacts of burning wood and coal.

The campaign, which is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will also see staff visiting businesses around the borough that use wood or charcoal cooking equipment to check that appliances are Defra compliant and encourage them to switch to gas or electric, which are less polluting.

Hackney is a designated smoke control area, where it is an offence to release black smoke from a chimney or fixed boiler anywhere in the borough. 

It’s also an offence to burn unauthorised fuel or use an appliance that’s not featured on Defra’s list of authorised fuels and exempt appliances, with an associated maximum fine of £1,000. 

Cllr Jon Burke, cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm said: ‘We’re committed to tackling London’s toxic air – whether that’s through our pioneering School Streets programme, our emissions-based Controlled Parking Zones, our air quality monitoring network, or our ever-expanding electric vehicle fleet – but, in the same way we expect drivers to avoid car use and ownership, we also expect people who unnecessarily burn solid fuels to do the same.

‘Fireplaces and wood-burning are a discretionary luxury in almost everywhere except the most rural locations.

‘Stoves and open fires produce vast amounts of both planet-heating carbon dioxide and toxic particulate matter that contributes to the premature deaths of thousands of Londoners every year through respiratory illness, cancer, and heart disease.

‘We’re urging residents to give up wood burning, and asking businesses that rely on solid fuel for cooking to use the cleanest possible products so we can tackle London’s toxic air and create a healthier Hackney for everyone.’

Last month the government announced that from February 2021, the sale of pre-packaged bituminous house coal and wet wood will be banned in a bid to curb particulate matter (PM) emissions.

They hope the ban will encourage owners of stoves and open fires to move to ‘cleaner’ alternatives such as low sulphur smokeless fuels and dried wood.

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.’

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Thomas BarrettHughNic Snell Recent comment authors
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Cllr Jon Burke is clearly misinformed. There is a clear difference between open fireplaces and stoves and the fuels burnt on them. It is illegal (and has been over 60 years) to burn wet wood or house coal on an open fire in smoke control areas. Modern wood burning stoves are very clean when burning dry wood and should be encouraged. By burning wood, which is renewable fuel they are actually produce zero net carbon dioxide unlike gas and most electricity that is generated. Modern wood burning stoves also produce 90% less emissions that open fires so are part of… Read more »

Nic Snell

This is a desperately poor article and is totally incorrect and has the potential to be extremely damaging to our industry. Defra is banning the sale of wet wood, and coal. It is NOT banning wood burning but wants people to use Kiln dried logs dried to below 20% moisture content and burnt in the correct appliances such as the new Ecodesign stoves or existing Defra exempt appliances. Your article is very misleading and is clearly asking people to stop burning wood and you are suggesting that you are going to actively go out and stop burning wood. Please can… Read more »