Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has announced a possible plan to ban home fireplaces and wood burning in a bid to fight pollution and improve air quality.
Khan has sent a letter to Michael Gove, the Environment Minister, to see if new powers can be brought in to make the proposal possible and the mayor thinks that there are number of areas of the can be improved to meet European Union standards.
The move would be bad news for many homeowners who use fireplaces or stoves that burn wood or coal to keep their homes warm, especially during the colder periods of the year.
Speaking to The Sun, a spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “There are different categories including pollution from the river, construction and also the discussion about wood-burning stoves.
“One of the proposals for 2025 is having these very small zones to curb pollution caused by wood-burning stoves. It is one of a number of ideas and it would need legislation from government and it would be at least six years away from happening.”
The proposal would include ‘zero emission zones’ that would see a complete ban on the use of coal or wood on fires and the sale of stoves that burn wood would be limited so only environment friendly options would be available to buy.
The Times reports that there are currently 1.5 million wood burning stoves in the UK and 200,000 are sold a year.
Although this proposal focuses on London, the move could set the ball rolling for a ban across the country and follows the British Medical Journal publishing an article stating that the burning of wood creates 2.4 times more PM2.5 pollution that vehicles on the country’s roads.
Part of the report includes the following statement: “The disproportionate amount of PM2.5 pollution from domestic wood burning continues to escape attention. Few people who install wood stoves are likely to understand that a single log-burning stove permitted in smokeless zones emits more PM2.5 per year than 1,000 petrol cars and has estimated health costs in urban areas of thousands of pounds per year.”
The study urges government to start looking at possible options to lower the emissions from these stoves and fireplaces.