I’ve blogged previously about the massively inaccurate reports about solid fuel fires in the home.
In the past week, the Government launched its Clean Air Strategy – prompting another avalanche of misreporting. I’ve had customers who were convinced that the end is nigh for their much-cherished stove or open fire. Once I explained the facts, they were more angry at being mislead by their trusted news source more than anything else.
I completely share their frustration. Here’s just five instances where the media got it completely wrong:
‘Burners ban’ – The Sun
Not only was the headline wrong, but the first sentences claims that wood is going to be banned as well! Take it from me, woodburners are not going to be banned. If you have a stove currently, or you are planning to get one, then carry on as normal. The only difference is that in the future, only certain types of stoves will be available for sale. That said, quite how that will be policed with almost anything being available on the internet remains to be seen.
As for wood, the government is looking at possibly restricting sales of wet/unseasoned wood, but no final decision has been made on this. Normal seasoned/kiln dried logs will still be available as is the case now.
‘Emits more particles per hour than a diesel truck’ – BBC News
This is yet another case of taking a very worst case scenario and presenting it as being indicative of every instance of wood burning. The fact is that, if used properly with the correct fuels, woodburning can be pretty much a carbon neutral process. Moreover, the wet wood debate is a complete red herring. Anyone who has tried to burn wet wood knows that it is a very poor performing fuel. It rarely ignites properly and generates little to no heat. In my experience, most pollution is from people burning dry wood at the incorrect temperature.
‘Woodburners and open fires face restrictions’ – BBC News
This is again a fairly lazy ‘catch all’ headline. Any restrictions would, in the case of woodburners, be either in the type of fuel used on them or the design of any future stoves available on the market. As for open fires, the only likely change is that the use of housecoal will be banned. Other than that, you’d be hard pressed to find a way of restricting anything!
‘Might not be able to use your stove by 2022’ – Wigan Today
This is perhaps the most inaccurate of all the media reports this week. On the face of it, the casual reader would assume that their current appliance would be basically illegal to use in three years. That is simply not true. Again, there is a massive misunderstanding about what changes will be enacted in the future, and the assumption they will affect current appliances. They won’t.
I saw this on the TV news and groaned inwardly. Please please please NEVER EVER stack your logs by your fire like this. It’s a massive fire and carbon monoxide risk. I’ve had customers tell me how they’ve been woken from their beds in the dead of night by the smell of smouldering logs in the living room. There’s further info on the perils here but, put simply, don’t do it.
How YOU can get better informed
- Read the Clean Air Stratey available at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/user_uploads/clean-air-strategy-2018-consultation.pdf
- Visit the Burnright website at www.burnright.co.uk
- Ensure you have your appliance maintained regularly by your local, registered chimney sweep.
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep is a HETAS Approved Sweep, and member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, offering a professional and friendly chimney sweep and stove service in Wigan, Stockport, St Helens, Ormskirk, Chorley and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.