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Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 Targets Indoor Air Quality

A ‘bold new goal’ to reduce the number of pollutants in UK air by 2030 has been laid out in the government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019, and if you’re currently heating your home with a wood burning stove, it’s particularly big news.

Unlike previous years, where the main focus was on outdoor air pollution, the Clean Growth Strategy 2019 has put emphasis on indoor air quality, big news for homeowners.

High up on the agenda are wood burning stoves, used to heat 1.5 million households across the UK. Only the most efficient wood burning units will be made available to homeowners by 2022 and could lead to solid fuels, such as wood and coal, eventually being phased out.

Speaking of the strategy, Bruce Allen, Chairman of Woodsure, said: “We welcome Defra’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy and are already working with them to bring about changes to existing smoke control legislation. Reducing particulate emissions from wood burning is an issue that the industry is working together on to ensure that the right stoves and the right fuel are part of the solution for air quality, not the problem.

“Woodsure Ready to Burn fuels comprise quality, dry logs which contain up to 20% moisture, which give off greatly reduced amounts of smoke and pollution as well as giving off more useful heat.”

Why Does the Strategy Focus on Wood Burning Stoves?

Wood burning stoves are a leading producer of particulate matter (PM), a damaging pollutant that contributes to preventable death. The emissions produced from burning wood is determined by how much moisture it contains but it’s possible for them to emit higher particle levels each hour than a diesel truck. For these reasons, new legislations are being introduced:

  • Only clean and efficient wood burning stoves to be sold from 2022
  • Inefficient wood burners and open-fire fuels set to be banned
  • Guarantee that wood fuel moisture content is no more than 20%, known as the Woodsure Ready to Burn Standard.

Particulate Matter Concerns

Particulate matter is a very small particulate, that can build up in bodily organs through the bloodstream and has been labelled extremely damaging to the world’s population by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Despite its impact on health, roughly 92% of the world’s population live where air quality levels exceed WHO guidelines but the UK government has set out ambitions to reduce PM levels ‘across much of the country’.

However, this target has seen the strategy come in for criticism as it doesn’t provide details or a timeline of how this will be achieved.

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth, said: “The government has made a welcome commitment to set an ambitious new target for cleaning up the most dangerous fine particle air pollution, based on WHO standards.”

“But while the WHO says standards should be reached by 2030, there is no date set in the government’s strategy and the plan is severely lacking in detail on how such a target could be met.”

If you have a wood burning stove to heat your home and are concerned about the potential risks then you should consider a more efficient condensing gas boiler or off-grid heating system. Head over to Boiler Guide to get free installation quotes from up to 3 trusted professionals in your local area today.

List of Clean Air Strategy 2019 Objectives

Improving the air quality of the UK a range of objectives have been outlined in this year’s Clean Air Strategy:

  • Ammonia emissions from farming to be regulated
  • 2040 target for any new cars to effectively have zero emissions
  • Local authorities in areas with high pollution levels to be given more power to tackle the issue
  • Air quality forecast sent directly to personal messaging systems
  • Government to work with professional to determine a testing standard should new solid fuels hit the UK market.

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