Residents with real coal fires or wood burning appliances are asked to double check what they are burning in a bid to reduce local pollution levels.
Over the past few weeks, air pollution in London has increased. With experts at King’s College London claiming that pollution is the worst since April 2011. One of the main contributors is the extra cold weather, combined with ‘traffic pollution and air pollution from wood burning.’
For many years Richmond, has been a ‘Smoke Control Area’. This means that it is an offence to allow the emission of grey/black smoke from the chimney of a building.
Since 1993, people living in smoke control areas, who have real fires at home, or wood burners for heating, must use authorised fuel. This means, fuels which have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning without producing smoke. You are only allowed to use unauthorised fuel in appliances that have been adapted to remove smoke.
Residents are encouraged to check the label of any fuel before it is purchased. Authorised fuels will say that the product is suitable to burn in a Smoke Control Area.
Also, residents are advised to remember to store all fuel in a dry place – damp fuel will cause more smoke.
Over the past few months, Richmond Council has received many calls from residents, concerned that their neighbours are burning inappropriate materials or from people unsure what the rules are.
Cllr Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:
“We all have the right to breathe clean air. However, across London we are breaching legal pollution limits.
“In Richmond we have many households that have real fires or wood burning stoves. However, it seems that many people don’t realise the restrictions in place on what they are allowed to burn. When officers contact the residents, they say they simply didn’t know.
“We have already been warned that temperatures are due to drop again in February. So – I ask all residents, before you light the match on your fires or stoves; please check that you are using authorised wood or coal or burning fuel in an exempt appliance. This will mean that toxins and deadly smoke that pollutes our air have been removed.”
For more information on what is and isn’t allowed – go to: https://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/appliances.php