Stop the wood burning stoves, City Hall told

'It is literally insane'

Monday, 14th February — By Richard Osley

pics2022feb10 Image 2022-02-10 at 10.54.26 (3)

Jemima Hartshorn at City Hall’s environment committee

A MUST-have for any ideal home catalogue, wood-burners have fast become as much of a middle-class cliché of north London life as shopping at Waitrose and holidaying in the south of France.

But London Assembly members have been handed a passionate warning that a serious danger may lie behind the seduction of wood chip aromas.

Appearing at the City Hall’s Environment Committee last week, Jemima Hartshorn, from Mums For Lungs, said the campaign group had called for the burners to be phased out over the next decade but it felt like they were “back at square one” with action not being swift enough.

“We would really like to see an end to selling of wood-burning stoves,” she said.

“And we would really like to see in the interim, clear health warnings on wood burners. People are buying a wood burner thinking ‘this is fine, it says eco design’.

And they don’t gather that this is actually going to pollute their kids and their neighbours.”

Ms Hartshorn told the cross-party committee: “I would really like everyone with power in London to come out and say: ‘Look, really, if you have alternative sources to heat, please do not burn’.

“Because it is so bad for yourself. People worry about particulate matter but if you have a wood burner, you’re going to create, in some cases, Delhi-style pollution inside your living room or for your neighbours. And that is absolutely unacceptable.”

“I’m really concerned about Defra approved eco stoves. We had data showing that eco stoves will emit the pollution that is similar to 70 older HGVs in your living room.

“It is literally insane that that is allowed.”

Ms Hartshorn has been campaigning with the group for five years, and has also helped raise awareness of the pollution caused by cars.

Large swathes of central London suffers from such toxic air that readings often pass World Health Organisation “safe” levels.

On one Friday last month, people were advised not to exercise outdoors in London.

The Stove Industry Alliance has regularly hit back against claims that products are all dangerous and have said comparing the burners with HGVs are like “comparing apples to oranges”.

Andy Hill, chair of the Stove Industry Alliance, said last year: that when making the comparison “no consideration has been given as to how stoves and HGVs are used in real life or the height at which they vent.”

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