Fires: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate the Government has made of the change in the level of harmful emissions, such as PM2.5, as a result of more people using wood-burning stoves and chimneys in each of the last three years.

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government has undertaken an assessment of the potential effect on health of the increase in the use of domestic wood burning stoves and chimneys.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Our most recent assessment shows that domestic solid fuel burning contributed 40% (42 kilotonnes) of total PM2.5 emissions in the UK during 2015, with domestic wood burning alone accounting for 35% (37 kilotonnes). This compares with 39 kilotonnes (solid fuels) and 33 kilotonnes (wood) in 2014 and 45 kilotonnes (solid fuels) and 40 kilotonnes (wood) in 2013.

Evidence shows that particulate matter (PM) of 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) and smaller can have detrimental effects on health. Small particles from smoke which are formed when wood is burned can get into the lungs and blood and be transported around the body, where they have a variety of detrimental health effects. It is, however, difficult to assess the increase in risk to public health that is associated with domestic wood burning alone.

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