Wales to ban worst polluting coal and wood stoves under air pollution plans

Emma Gatten
·2-min read
Plans would see traditional coal and wet wood sales phased out 
Plans would see traditional coal and wet wood sales phased out

Traditional coal used in domestic stoves could be banned in Wales as the government follows a move by England to tackle air pollution.

A consultation launched by the Welsh government proposes bringing in a ban on traditional bituminous coal and imposing heavy restrictions on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning within two years.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: "This is not an attempt to ban the use of wood as a fuel, or to ban the use of wood burning stoves.

"We do, however, aim to inform the public of the hazards posed from fine particulate matter and other air pollution released from burning in any form, and the harm that it does to the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales."

A study in December found that wood burners triple harmful indoor air pollution. Researchers at the University of Sheffield said they should carry a health warning for children and elderly people, a study has found.

They measured levels of fine particulate matter, a pollutant known to be harmful to people's health, and found that it "flooded" into the room when the door of the stove was opened to add more fuel.

Air pollution is estimated to contribute to between 1,000 – 1,400 premature deaths in Wales every single year.

The consultation on coal and wood-burning stoves were introduced alongside wider plans for a clean air bill in Wales that will include more powers to tackle idling cars outside schools and hospitals.

England is to ban bags of traditional house coal from sale by February, while deliveries will be phased out by 2023.

The ban does not include “smokeless” manufactured solid fuels, so long as they contain very low levels of sulphur, another major pollutant.

The Environment Secretary said the move was necessary as wood-burning stoves and open fires were now considered "the most harmful pollutant" affecting people in this country.