Environment Secretary Michael Gove is to ban the sale of coal and wood used for home fires and stoves, in a bid to tackle air pollution.
By 2022, only the cleanest will be permitted for sale to limit harmful emissions linked to log burners and open fires.
Improving air quality
The ban will restrict the sale of ‘wet’ timber for domestic burning, and apply sulphur and smoke emission limits to all solid fuels.
Sales of bituminous or traditional house coal may also be phased out under the ban.
Under the new regulations, only heavily treated coal and logs that have been dried to less than 20 per cent of moisture may be permitted for sale.
Mr Gove said, “While air quality has improved significantly in recent years, air pollution continues to shorten lives, harm our children and reduce quality of life.
“We must take strong, urgent action. Our ambitious strategy includes new targets, new powers for local government and confirms that our forthcoming Environment Bill will include new primary legislation on air quality.
“While air pollution may conjure images of traffic jams and exhaust fumes, transport is only one part of the story and the new strategy sets out the important role for all of us – across all sectors of work and society – can play in reducing emissions and cleaning up our air to protect our health.”
The proposals outlined in the government’s Clean Air Strategy will also bring changes to existing smoke control laws, as well as new powers for local authorities to take action in high pollution areas.
Ministers predict the new laws could cut the cost of air pollution to society by £1.7 billion per year by 2020.
It is anticipated this figure will rise to £5.3 billion per year by 2030, based on savings from public health benefits.
In addition to the ban imposed on coal and wood, the government is also set to work with health organisations and consumer groups to reduce exposure to non-methane volatile organic compounds in the home.
These are found in items such as scented candles, carpets, paint and cleaning products.