There have been an awful lot of rumours flying around recently regarding wood-burning stoves and their effects on the environment. As with many things, the facts have either been ignored or misconstrued. So let’s clear up once and for all where wood-burning stoves lie in regards to the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.
Are Wood-Burning Stoves Being Banned?
Absolutely not. Defra has actually included wood burning stoves in their Clean Air Strategy, and they are recommending installing SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves and using Ready to Burn wood fuel. The Mayor of London has also given the same advice in adverts that he paid for in the Evening Standard. And this is an important development, because large parts of London have, until now, long been smoke free zones!
I’ve heard that wood burning stoves give off a lot of air pollution and particles.
All wood combustion will give off some particles. But a modern stove burning the right fuel has very low levels of emissions. This is why they’re being supported by Defra and the Mayor of London.
To clarify; a modern Ecodesign Ready stove will produce 90% less emissions than an open fire and 80% less emissions than an average 10 year old stove. This is based on independent test results from an accredited laboratory.
I’ve heard that 38% of particulate emissions (PM’s) come from wood stoves.
This figure has been in the press, and it is by far the most misleading statistic. It is based on emissions, not just from wood-burning, but all levels of particulates in the urban environment, including transport! If you only consider emissions from wood combustion - open fires, incinerators, bonfires,, bbqs and stoves, then the figure drops to 16%. The estimate of emissions created by wood stoves is just 3%, most of which will come from stoves over 10 years old. So by replacing them with modern Ecodesign stoves the emissions could be further reduced to just 1%. Couple that with the purchase of kiln-dried ready-to-burn logs and the environmental impact is minimal. https://elcombefirewood.co.uk/product-category/logs/kiln-dried-logs/
Is wood a sustainable resource?
There is more than enough home-grown wood to ensure it is sustainable. Furthermore, new Ecodesign Ready stoves are more efficient than either an open fire or a ten year old stove. They use less logs to generate the same heat output.
What is different about an Ecodesign Ready stove?
Ecodesign Ready stoves have been independently tested to verify that they meet the forthcoming Ecodesign test criteria that will be introduced as a requirement in 2022. These stoves have been tested to ensure low outputs of CO, OGC’s, PM’s & NOx. Whereas standard CE approved stoves only have to pass a far easier standard on CO. SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves also have to have efficiency of at least 75%. This is opposed to the 65% requirement for a standard CE approved stove.
Are wood burning stoves at all “green”?
Yes, wood burning stoves are a genuine renewable low carbon method of heating, and the modern stoves also have low levels of emissions. A key aspect here is the carbon neutral nature of wood burning. Trees remove as much CO2 during their lives as they produce being burnt in a wood burning stove.
Wood-Burning Stoves And The Clean Air Strategy: The Facts Not The Fiction.