Trafford’s Breathe Clean Air Group fully supports the appeal from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who says “Wood-burning stoves are making the air toxic and should not be used on days of high air pollution.”
Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to issue regulations that could stop wood-burning stove owners from using their appliances on days breaching air quality rules. As 37 out of 43 regions in England already have illegally high levels of toxic air, other regions may follow London’s lead. Mr Khan said that cracking down on wood-burning stoves was important, as road vehicles were responsible for only 50% of air pollution in London. Burning wood produces Particulate Matter that is dangerous to health.
Breathe Clean Air Group Chairman Pete Kilvert said, “Sadiq Khan’s statement is a clear call to other regional leaders such as Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester. BCAG has already flagged up the dangers of wood-burning stoves with Mr Burnham, informing him that air pollution is not just about nitrogen dioxide pollution from road traffic. Industry, incineration, power generation and fracking will also produce masses of Particulate Matter and toxic gases and should be control effectively.”
There are about 1.5 million wood-burning stoves in the UK according to the Stove Industry Alliance and increasing by 200,000 per year. The Government has estimated around 2.2 million house-holds in the UK burn wood, with about half of them using wood-burning stoves and half burning wood on open fires.
According to Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution (DSAWSP), children are amongst the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of Particulate air pollution. Children breathe faster and inhale more pollutants in proportion to their body weight than do adults. Their immune systems and organs are still developing. Particulate pollution has been shown to affect lung function and lung development. Children’s lungs continue to develop though adolescence. During infancy, the developing lung is highly susceptible to damage from environmental pollutants, including those from wood smoke.
“Our leaders must not ignore the evidence about the danger to health of wood smoke,” said Mr Kilvert. “That is why the Breathe Clean Air Group is continuing its campaign to stop the construction and operation of the mainly wood-burning Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Davyhulme. Its Particulate emissions and other toxic air pollution will be poisoning our children for the next 25 years or more. In the meantime our neighbours are poisoning our children with their wood-burning stoves”