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Fires could be stoking up trouble

Readers' letters | Published:

Years ago people burned coal and coke on their domestic fires, to keep warm and enjoy hot water.

Today however we have different heating systems to provide heat and hot water, to comply with air pollution regulations.

With the price of gas and electric going through the roof, many people in older type dwellings are turning to burning wood on their open fires to provide heat and hot water.

Many people in these older type dwellings with chimneys are installing wood burners, blissfully unaware they live in ‘smoke controlled areas’, thereby causing problems to local residents with breathing difficulties, such as asthma, COPD etc.

The law on domestic smoke chimney emissions is quite clear; you are allowed 15 minutes of smoke emission. Guess what? Nobody in the country has ever been convicted of breaching that law on air pollution.

The 15-minute ruling is out of date. That was when you had to light paper, to light wood, to light coal, smokeless fuel only takes firelighters to ignite and costs only pennies, but is expensive to burn.

If this Government is serious about cleaning up air pollution they should not only ban burning of wood on domestic fires, but also ban bonfires in gardens except the November 5th celebrations.

Of course, traffic pollution is a major contributor, (the silent killer) why are motorists in traffic jams on our motorways not forced to turn their engines off – except chiller or frozen vehicle carriers.

People who are thinking about installing wood burners in their homes to save money on their heating bills, should think twice before doing so.

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You cannot burn wood all day long. The penalty for exceeding the 15-minute period is £1,000.

Also, smokeless fuel can be just as expensive as gas or electric heating.

So think twice if you are thinking of buying an expensive wood burner, and having your chimney swept, and chimney liners inserted to burn smokeless fuel.

Those who do have wood burners and burn wood, are blighting people with breathing difficulties, wood fumes are still emitted hours after they stop burning.

Of course, if you have a wood burner it is so tempting to throw the odd item on it, especially if your bin is full.

A Parker, Willenhall

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