An increase in the number of wood-burning stoves can lead to a decrease in air quality. That’s the fear of two councils tasked with investigating levels of air pollutant particles from burning solid fuels – and how it could affect people living nearby.
Wood-burning stoves are often a sought-after feature for private homes and have grown in popularity in recent years. In addition to heating your home in a more traditional way, they also help people turn on the thermostat during times of rising bills.
Now, after a joint bid by North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) and Harborough District Council (HDC), the two authorities will now work together to see how bad the air pollution is in their respective areas. The main focus will be on solid fuel burners such as wood stoves.
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The joint work, funded by a £27,000 DEFRA grant, hopes to help councils better understand the severity of pollution in their area, while raising awareness of the effects it can have on people and their health.
Monitoring equipment will be purchased to examine the amount of particulate matter – solid particles and liquid droplets – found in the air. Higher levels of particulates are thought to be released into the air by the burning of solid fuels, such as wood stoves and log burners.
Councilor Andrew Woodman, the NWLDC’s portfolio holder for community services, felt it was important to look into the issue. He said: “Solid fuel burners are becoming increasingly popular and are seen as a more natural way to produce heat for homes. It is important that we consider the potential impact that burning solid fuels can have on people’s health and the quality of the air we breathe.
Adviser Jonathan Bateman, HDC’s chief of staff on air quality, said: ‘We know there is growing public concern about particles in the air that can be inhaled, and we have the intend to use this funding to learn more about local levels and encourage people to think about how they can help reduce it.
“Exposure to particles can lead to health problems, especially in vulnerable groups, such as young people, the elderly and people with respiratory problems. This is an important step in the right direction for tackle this problem now.”