UK Government to Regulate Use of Wood-Burning Stoves

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. particulate matter / pərˈtɪk·jə·lɪt ˈmæt̬·ər / (n) – a mixture of harmful solid and liquid particles in the air

    Please wear a mask to avoid getting particulate matter into your lungs.

  2. eradicate / ɪˈræd·əˌkeɪt / (v) – to remove or end something

    The campaign aims to eradicate illegal animal hunting.

  3. burdensome / ˈbɜrd(ə)nsəm / (adj) – causing too much trouble or difficulty

    Having too many tasks makes work burdensome.

  4. compliance / kəmˈplaɪ.əns / (n) – the act of following a rule or a law

    Our Human Resources Department is always in compliance with government laws.

  5. summon / ˈsʌm·ən / (v) – to order someone to be present in a court

    The government summoned the oil company because its operations are causing water pollution.


Read the text below.

The UK government plans to regulate the use of wood-burning stoves to curb air pollution in the United Kingdom.

The initiative is part of the government’s Clean Air Strategy, which aims to eliminate all sources of air pollution. This strategy hopes to achieve a 50% reduction in the population exposed to unhealthy levels of particulate matter by 2025.

Research findings showed that wood-burning stoves and solid fuels are accountable for 38% of particulate pollution, the most harmful type of air pollution. This is why the use of wood-burning stoves will be regulated by limiting the materials that can be burned and setting days when burning activities will be prohibited.

However, some critics believe that these plans will not suffice in eradicating particulate pollution. According to Greenpeace representative Doug Parr, regulating the use of wood-burning stoves can be burdensome to local officials who may lack resources to address this issue. He added that there is also no certainty that officials will constantly monitor people’s compliance with the regulation.

Instead, some environmentalists suggested addressing other causes of air pollution like ammonia emissions from farming, and more importantly, nitrogen dioxide emissions from vehicles.

According to the environmentalists, vehicles emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide, a harmful pollutant. In fact, around 5,900 deaths in London each year are attributed to nitrogen dioxide emitted by cars running on diesel.

Earlier this year, the European Commission has summoned the UK government for failing to comply with the acceptable nitrogen dioxide levels, which was supposed to be achieved by 2010.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that the UK government should focus on addressing air pollution caused by vehicles? Explain.
• In your opinion, should the UK government have the sole responsibility to fight air pollution? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• As an individual, what can you do to help address air pollution?
• How do you think authorities can encourage people to adopt practices that can help fight air pollution?