UK to phase out coal and wet wood from 2021 to cut air pollution


The sale of house coal and wet wood will be phased out from next year as part of a government move to tackle air pollution.

Plans to move away from the most polluting fuels burned in household stoves are part of efforts to reduce the amount of tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5 in the air.

The particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and the blood and cause serious health problems.

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of PM2.5, contributing three times as much of the pollution as road transport, the department for environment, food and rural affairs (defra) said.

Sales of two of the most polluting fuels, wet wood and house coal, will be phased out from 2021 to 2023, to give householders and suppliers time to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels.

These produce less smoke and pollution, and are cheaper and more efficient to burn, officials said.

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.

"By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as dry wood we can all play a part in improving the health of millions of people.

"This is the latest step in delivering on the challenge we set ourselves in our world-leading clean air strategy.

"We will continue to be ambitious and innovative in tackling air pollution from all sources as we work towards our goal to halve the harm to human health from air pollution by 2030."