Wood burning stoves and air quality
Air pollution in Camden exceeds the World Health Organization’s guideline levels. Burning wood and coal at home emits dangerous pollution known as fine particulate matter (often referred to as PM2.5), which is a known carcinogen and can cause asthma, heart disease and other serious illnesses affecting our lungs, hearts and brains. Exposure to particulate air pollution can also trigger the symptoms of existing health conditions.
Current evidence suggests there is no safe level of PM2.5, and both short-term and long-term exposure to PM2.5 increase the risk of early deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
How much air pollution does wood burning produce?
Nationally, domestic wood burning produces 38% of total fine particulate emissions despite only 7.5% of the population using these fuels for home heating. Domestic wood burning contributes 15% of total London-wide PM2.5 emissions, although the impact is concentrated during the autumn and winter.
PM2.5 from wood burning affects public health throughout Camden and can also have a serious impact on indoor air quality, damaging the health of those burning wood fuels at home. It has been estimated that around 3,500 premature deaths occur each year in London due to long-term exposure to fine particulates.
Camden is very well connected to the mains gas network, and there is no reason for any resident or business in the borough to have to rely on wood or coal fuels for heating.
How can I reduce pollution from my wood burning stove or fireplace?
The most effective way of reducing pollution and protecting everyone’s health is simply to avoid burning any wood, coal, or other solid fuels at home.
Even the most efficient wood-fuelled heating systems emit approximately 300 times more PM2.5 than gas boilers, so if you are able to use gas or electricity for heating instead of wood or coal you will be helping to improve air quality.
We have produced a wood burning information flyer for you to share this information with others.
Advice on saving energy and keeping warm at home
If you struggle to keep your home warm and comfortable, you can contact the Green Camden Helpline on 0800 801 738 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm) for advice and tips, including checking eligibility for grants and other services.
You can also visit our energy efficiency grants and services webpage for further information and support.