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Household coal sales could be banned and wet wood restricted in bid to cut pollution

Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The sale of household coal could be phased out and wet wood sales restricted in a bid to cut down on pollution from people lighting fireplaces in their homes.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a consultation on cleaner domestic burning, saying that the burning of wood and coal in the home is the largest single contributor to particulate matter pollution - identified by the World Health Organization as the most damaging air pollutant.

Particulate matter is formed of tiny particles that can get into the body and lodging in major organs, causing short-term and long-term health problems.

Domestic burning reportedly contributes 38% of particulate matter pollution, compared with 16% from industrial combustion and only 12% from road transport.

The government therefore wants to restrict the sale of wet wood for domestic burning and phase out the sale of traditional house coal.

It has launched a consultation on the proposals, which will run until October 12.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey, who is also Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal, said: “Everyone has a role to play in improving the air we breathe, and reducing pollution from burning at home is a key area where we can all take action.

“By switching to cleaner fuels, householders can reduce the amount of harmful pollution to which they unwittingly expose themselves, their families and the environment, while still enjoying the warmth and pleasure of a fire.”

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