Burning wood and coal

Burning wood or coal pollutes the air inside and outside your home. The toxic particulate matter produced by burning is harmful for you and your neighbours.

Health impacts

The small toxic particulates produced by burning wood and coal cause heart and lung problems. Exposure over a period of time can also lead to premature death.

Burning wood produces particulates that cause respiratory conditions, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

Particulate pollution has an impact on health through both long term exposure to low levels and acute impacts associated with short term peaks in pollution.

Burning wood and coal in homes produces more than a third of the directly emitted particulate matter pollution in the UK.

15m people in the UK live in areas where the annual average level of particulate matter pollutants exceeds World Health Organisation guidelines.

Open fires and stoves

Open fires produce even more particles than stoves.

Some stoves are cleaner than others. You can buy approved eco-designed stoves that produce lower levels of particulate pollution – but even using the cleanest of these stoves will produce in the same amount of time the equivalent of particulate pollution as six new (Euro VI) lorries travelling at 20 mph.

Types of fuel

Treated timber should not be burned in any appliance. Lots of timber is treated to stop it rotting in outdoor settings or has glue holding it together which when burnt releases toxic carcinogenic emissions into our homes and outdoor air.

If you have an open fire in Bristol it is an offence to burn wood on it. You can only burn an authorised fuel.

Under the Clean Air Act of 1993, all of Bristol is covered by a smoke control order. This means you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance. However, even authorised fuel and exempt appliances produce particulate pollution.

WHAT CAN I DO?