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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.