FUEL FOR THOUGHT: Colchester residents urged to burn better fuel this winter

PUBLISHED: 1 December 2021

As the weather turns colder, a new local campaign has launched today urging residents in Colchester to be aware of the air pollution generated by their open fires and log burners.

Although many of us love the warmth and glow generated from an open fire or log burner, there are health consequences caused by the toxic air they create. The Home Burning campaign is helping local people take positive action to reduce these risks and improve air quality both inside and outside the home.

These simple actions, including choosing ‘Ready to burn’ certified fuel and seasoned wood, helps to protect people from the negative effects of the most toxic fuels. Certified fuel is safer for your health as it limits the amount of allowed sulphur and smoke emissions generated by your home fire.

Burning wood and coal at home makes up almost 40 per cent of the UK’s most toxic air and is the single largest source of fine particle pollution (PM2.5)1, the most dangerous type of air pollution that can enter the bloodstream and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

In addition, open fires and log burners emit twice the amount of air pollution as industry and three times the amount as road transport1. Even an eco-certified log burner produces 3.1g of air pollution each hour inside your home2, the equivalent of 18 family diesel cars.

Colchester residents with open fires or log burners are also being asked to avoid burning inappropriate materials such as paper, plastic, or old furniture. Even though these items for burning may have been obtained cheaply or free of charge they generate more toxic air than certified fuels and may cause expensive damage to your home burning appliance.

Councillor Simon Crow, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, said: “Air pollution causes significant health issues so it’s important we support our residents to make informed choices about which type of fuel they choose to burn at home. By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as ‘Ready to Burn’ certified fuel and seasoned wood, people with open fires and log burners can improve the air that they and their family breathe.

“This DEFRA-funded project complements the ‘Take Care of Your Air’ work we are already undertaking through our Careless Pollution campaign, improving air quality and reducing pollution for everyone’s benefit in Colchester.”

Sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood (under 2m3) have been phased out since February 2021 and further restrictions will follow encouraging the public to switch to cleaner fuel alternatives. You can avoid burning garden waste by using Colchester Borough Council’s kerbside garden waste collection service or taking it to your local recycling centre.

Page last reviewed: 1 December 2021


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