Hounslow Council highlights health concerns over burning issue of wood fires and stoves
Published on Friday, 18 February 2022 by Hounslow Greentalk
Clean air officers with Hounslow Council are urging residents to think twice before lighting up a wood-burning stove this winter.

Wood-fired stoves and burners have become increasingly popular over recent years. However, using the wrong kind of fuel will add to air pollution in Hounslow and even affect people who have respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD.

When wood, coal and charcoal burn, they release fine particles and Nitrogen Dioxide into the atmosphere, which could be harmful to people’s health.

Figures recently released by the Greater London Authority show that these burners are responsible for 17 per cent of all the fine particle pollution across the capital. 

Research shows some wood burners and open fires can produce more air pollution than a heavy goods vehicle. 

And it’s not just the external environment that can suffer because using a wood burner can triple levels of air pollution within the home. 

Last year, the government introduced new rules on the sale of fuel for open fires. There are restrictions on the sale of bagged coal and wet wood - two of the largest producers of air pollution. 

The new rules also mean that solid fuel must have a low sulphur content. Manufacturers must also certify and label these products to meet the required standards. 

Hounslow and other local authorities across London are working together to regulate the sale of wood and other fuels to make sure they meet the new requirements. 

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency, Councillor Katherine Dunne, urged everyone to use these burners responsibly. 

“We know that a real fire can be an enjoyable experience but we have to think about the potential impacts on the rest of the community,” said Cllr Dunne. “We have declared a climate emergency in Hounslow. This means that we are doing all we can to reduce the amount of carbon we produce.”

“We are asking people to use their wood-burning stoves and open fires sparingly and in a considerate manner. You must know what types of fuel you can use to help protect the environment and other people.”

•   The advice from the government on the use of wood-burning stoves is clear:

•   Burn less wood - Ask yourself if it’s necessary to burn as much.

•   Buy ready to burn fuel.

•   Don’t use wet wood - the moisture means more pollution.

•   Don’t use treated waste wood or household rubbish - it can emit toxic fumes, including arsenic. 

•   For an indoor fire, use solid fuel instead of coal. 

•   Regularly clean and maintain your burner.

•   For an indoor fire, make sure you have your chimney cleaned regularly. 

You can find out more about wood-burning stoves and open fires at: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/info/20006/environment/1515/air_quality_pollution_and_aviation_noise/6

For more information about Hounslow Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration, visit: