Wood burning and air quality

Burning wood or other solid fuels at home emits dangerous pollution both inside your home and into the wider environment, known as fine particulate matter (often referred to as PM2.5 – particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres).  Fine particulate matter is a known carcinogen and can cause asthma, heart disease and other serious illnesses affecting our lungs, hearts and brains (Government guidance ‘Health Matters : Air Pollution’).

There is no proven safe level of PM2.5, and short and long-term exposure to PM2.5 can increase the risk of early deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.  PM2.5 is not visible to the naked eye, so even ‘smokeless’ fuels and efficient appliances may still produce a significant amount of air pollution.

Solid fuel burning stove

Domestic solid fuel accounts for 38% of primary particulate matter emissions in the UK - the largest source of fine particulate matter and is actually three times higher than from road transport.

The image below is taken from the Government’s Clean Air Strategy and illustrates the relative emissions from domestic heating and how this can affect your indoor air quality:

* Dr Gary Fuller, Imperial College London article in www.ScienceFocus.com.

Financial assistance

To apply for financial assistance to make energy efficiency improvements to your home, click here.


PM2.5 is monitored on the London Road in Bath and most recent annual levels are equal to the World Health Organization’s guideline levels. PM10 (larger particulate matter not exceeding 10 micrometres) is also monitored on London Road and Lower Bristol Road and are close to the World Health Organization’s guideline levels, but within the UK Nation.  There is no proven safe level of PM2.5, so the more we can do to reduce emissions the better.

For more information relating to the legalities of burning solid fuels, click here.

For more information on the work the Council is undertaking re the Climate Emergency, click here.

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