A large proportion of PM 2.5 emissions attributed by the government to domestic combustion actually come from unregulated outdoor burning such as bonfires. So expect to see a serious spike in particulate matter emissions after this year's bonfire night. The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), of which The Stove Yard is a founding member, is keen to ensure that such emissions are properly recorded, reported and attributed. Unfortunately there's a common misconception (regularly repeated in the media) that 38% of PM2.5 emissions come from wood burning stoves. This is simply not true.A significant proportion of the emissions currently recorded and used in government statistics for particulate matter from domestic combustion come from unregulated outdoor burning on bonfires, firepits, barbecues and garden incinerators. Even wildfires like the one on Saddleworth Moor in 2018 – the largest in England's living memory, is included. Let's not forget either all of the illegal wood burning on open fires in Smoke Control Areas. For example in London alone, open fires account for approximately 70% of all domestic wood burning, despite the capital being within a Smoke Control Area. And yet somehow wood burning stoves and responsible stove owners are copping for all of the blame. We don't think that this is right. The SIA has long disputed the accuracy of the 38% figure and believe that it is vital that emissions are correctly apportioned so that everyone can better understand and deal with the damage being done to our air quality.
An Ecodesign stove (the only type that can be sold after the end of this year) burning Ready to Burn certified seasoned wood fuel, along with professional installation and regular maintenance and chimney sweeping can dramatically reduce the proportion of emissions from burning wood for indoor heating. In fact they can produce up to 90% less emissions than an open fire and up to 80% less than a stove that is 10 or more years old. So not only can modern stoves be part of the solution to air quality issues, they can also help mitigate the affect of fuel poverty, now even more important with the current skyrocketing energy prices. We would therefore urge campaigners and policy makers to ensure that they consider all of the facts before pointing the finger of blame for poor air quality at modern wood burning stoves this winter.
For more facts about wood burning stoves and emissions please check out