THE CLEAN AIR PLAN FOR WALES HEALTHY AIR, HEALTHY WALES
On December 10th 2019, the Welsh Government issued a plan for clean air. "The Clean Air Plan fo...

THE CLEAN AIR PLAN FOR WALES HEALTHY AIR, HEALTHY WALES

On December 10th 2019, the Welsh Government issued a plan for clean air.

“The Clean Air Plan for Wales Healthy Air, Healthy Wales”

This twelve week consultation seeks views on the Welsh Government’s Clean Air Plan for Wales: Healthy Air: Healthy Wales. This plan sets out their policy direction and proposed actions to reduce air pollution to support improvements in public health and our natural environment. 

In Wales, several air pollutants either actually or potentially breach legislative limits: 

  • NO2 national and European ambient air limit exceedances are a widespread issue, largely due to emissions from transport; 
  • Exceedances of the European ambient air limit for particulate matter (fine dust), known as PM10 continues to be a risk in Port Talbot; 
  • In Pontardawe, levels of Nickel (Ni) from industrial processing exceed European targets; 
  • Levels of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) exceed European targets. Sources are mainly industry and domestic solid fuel burning; 
  • Levels of ground level O3 exceed long-term European objectives. 

We have spoken in detail recently about this various policies, acts and legislation in the UK, which have the unified objective of reducing air pollution and tackling climate change. This is a subject close to our hearts. As a company we are committed to making cleaner, sustainable heating appliances, to help reduce the impacts of air pollution and climate change.

The UK’s Clean Air Strategy 2019:

Back in January this year, we took a closer look at the Governments Clean Air Strategy, which set out plans for further increasing UK air quality. This strategy was very welcomed with us, along with other manufacturers of Ecodesign Ready wood burning stoves. Finally we saw the Government starting to acknowledge the considerable environmental benefits, which can be realised when using an Ecodesign Ready stove.

The salient points, related to burning wood, we extracted from the Clean Air Strategy back in January, found in chapter 6 were:

  • Ensuring only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022 – (EcoDesign Ready).
  • Making changes to current smoke control legislations, to make it easier to enforce. This could indicate a stronger clamp down on the use of open fires in cities and other urban areas, along with the burning of wet wood. 
  • A dedicated campaign to target domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental and public impacts of burning.

These points helped towards dispeling any myths around the idea of “burning wood is bad”, which was rife in the media. This was unfair and sadly, the media also did a very good job at misleading consumers in something so important. More and more people now know that Ecodesign stoves are part of the solution.

Clean Air Plan for Wales and Burning Wood:

There is a section in this clean air plan, which is titled “Domestic Combustion”. In this section they make reference to wanting “to reduce and in time eradicate, all emissions from domestic sources including through burning of solid fuels.” They do mention the fact that a proportion of people do rely on solid fuels as a main heating method, and the fact that in the short term, an all-out ban on solid fuel burning is both unmanageable and unsustainable. They also mention that there are things, which can be done to drastically reduce domestic emissions.

A group set up in February 2019 consisting of local authorities and companies such as Stove Industry Alliance, HETAS and Woodsure was created to look at the impacts, risk and possible benefits of different interventions. This group also looked at the impact of possibly prohibiting the sale of the most polluting solid fuel appliances, and looking at legislating to make sure only the most efficient appliances (such as SIA Ecodesign Ready stoves) are available for sale. They also looked at regulation, to make sure appliances are regularly maintained by qualified professionals.

Initial Reaction:

We are supportive of action to phase out all polluting open fires and old stoves and replace them with cleaner burning SIA Ecodesign ready stoves. Simply by taking this action in a timely way, a rapid reduction in emissions from solid fuel combustion can be achieved together with a boost in energy efficiency, heat output, and lower running costs for the public.

Charlton & Jenrick Managing Director, Peter Mintoft commented:

“It has been demonstrated in a number of countries around the world that replacing old technology domestic solid fuel stoves with cleaner burning versions, can improve air quality significantly in the short term. In the UK SIA Lab testing has shown that Ecodesign stoves can reduce particulate emissions alone by 90% from an open fire or 80% over an old stove. This confirms that these are actions that can be taken immediately that will have a really positive impact in the real world.”

While the report does mention an intention to “In time” “Eradicate” all emissions from domestic sources, including through solid fuels, which could be considered a little misleading, they do move quickly on to outlining the possibility of just prohibiting the sale of the most polluting solid fuel appliances (i.e non-Ecodesign Ready stoves and similar).

The Clean Air Plan for Wales makes reference to Ecodesign Ready Stoves, and displays the below visual, also making positive reference to Woodsure Ready to Burn too. This does demonstrate their intention to educate consumers as to the benefits of Ecodesign, and the various initiatives there are available. 

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