With the aim of fighting air pollution, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a potential ban on wood-burning stoves in some areas. If approved, this could include hand-loaded industrial wood-burning heaters that lack any equipment to reduce the emissions of fine particulate matter.
Geraint Davies, Labour chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution, expressed support for the proposal. He blamed pollution hotspots in middle-class areas on wood-burners, claiming that they cause “tens of thousands of cases of avoidable children’s asthma attacks, premature dementia and early deaths”.
Wood-burning stoves have surged in popularity over the last ten years. However, during this same period, emissions of a particularly harmful form of air pollution known as PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns) have increased by 35%. PM2.5 is invisible to the naked eye and small enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream.
Davies went on to say: “If we are to reach World Health Organisation targets in London by 2030, then we must take tougher action on wood-burning stoves, and the Mayor is taking a welcome first step as wood-burners and coal already make up 40 percent of PM2.5 particulate pollution.”
Wood-burning stoves, which may be banned in urban areas with poor air quality if the proposed regulations come into force, have been extremely popular. They are most prevalent in the southeast of England, with 16% of households having them compared to the national average of 5%.
It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all fine-particle pollution in London originates from domestic wood-burning. In January, during a period of exceptionally high air pollution, it accounted for half of the toxic emissions in some areas of the capital, as highlighted by research conducted at King’s College London.
This prompted Sadiq Khan to comment: “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London, so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them, similar to the moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles.”
The London Mayor also stressed that the public cannot afford to wait any longer as more than 400 schools are located in areas where pollution levels exceed the legal limits. He called on the national government to provide the necessary funds and legal authority that would allow him to tackle harmful emissions from various sources.
To this end, Khan has asked the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to amend the Clean Air Act. This would pave the way for the establishment of “zero-emission zones” where it would be forbidden to burn solid fuel from 2025 onwards.
As traditional fuel costs keep climbing and the eventual prohibition of gas boilers and heaters looms on the horizon, it is crucial that we embrace readily available alternative fuels. However, this should not come at the expense of our air quality.
How can we address a potential ban on wood-burning stoves?
Ranheat has been developing its line of ceramic flue gas filtration units since 2012.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) established a minimum emissions standard for flue gases produced by biomass-fuelled boilers. Unfortunately, warm air heaters were not included in this scheme and manually loaded systems did not meet its stringent requirements. Wood-burning boilers and heaters equipped with ceramic flue gas filtration undergo regular testing by independent labs to comply with the Part B Environmental Permitting Regulations. These regulations mandate an annual test for all wood waste burning appliances that exceed a rate of 90kg per hour. The particulate limit is set at 60mg/m3.
When a Ranheat ceramic flue gas filter is installed, the results consistently remain below 2mg/m3. This means you can have access to reliable green heating regardless of any ban on wood-burning stoves.
As London Mayor Sadiq Khan considers banning wood-burning stoves to improve air quality, there is a growing need for innovative solutions in the face of rising traditional fuel costs and impending restrictions on gas boilers. At Ranheat, we believe our ceramic flue gas filtration units offer one such solution as they ensure compliance with the emissions standards. Our technology is a promising means of maintaining air quality while transitioning to cleaner heating alternatives.
For more information on Ranheat’s ceramic flue gas filters and our range of industrial biomass equipment, please visit www.ranheat.com. You can also contact us at [email protected] or by telephoning 01604 750005.