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Wood-burning stoves face ban in pollution crackdown in London

September 29, 2017
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood



Tangled webs!!




Wood burning is set to be banned in some urban areas to reduce air pollution under proposed restrictions that would be the strongest in Europe.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is seeking powers to prohibit all burning of wood in parts of the capital with poor air quality. He also wants tighter curbs on wood-burning stoves, with only low- emission versions allowed to stay on sale.



Since 2006, successive governments have been handing out millions of pounds in subsidies for houses and businesses who install wood-burning stoves and boilers.

Subsidies are still being out for new installations through the Renewable Heat Incentive. It’s a bit of a complicated system, with payments based on various factors, such as size and age of house. Payments are guaranteed for 7 years.

I have run the government’s RHI calculator for our house, and it comes up with a subsidy of £6720 over the full period:


The RHI scheme was introduced by the Coalition Government in 2011, but this replaced Labour’s Low Carbon Building Programme, introduced in 2006 to offer grants  towards the cost of installing domestic microgeneration technologies.

As with the diesel fiasco, government policy was obsessively skewed to reducing emissions of CO2, with little regard to real environmental issues.

  1. September 29, 2017 6:25 pm

    How much more evidence do we need of the insane policies that have been put in place to “tackle climate change”? Every policy that has been put in place has done more harm than good; increasing fuel poverty, increasing food poverty, destruction of the landscape, killing wildlife. The list is seemingly endless and there is no end in sight to the insane policies that the greenblob has encouraged successive government to put in place.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      September 29, 2017 9:41 pm

      As you know, I have fought the obsession and the outright mendacity of the eco-nuts for a quarter-century or more. Their strength is their apparent reasonableness, their patently evident good intentions (who could argue against looking after the planet we all have to live on?), and their uncanny ability to work Jedi mind tricks!

      The insanity of the policies does not become clear to the human mind until we have become inured to them and by that time we are either so indoctrinated that we cannot believe what we are slowly starting to realise or we are too human to admit, even to ourselves, that we have been suckered.

      Add to that the usual raft of vested interests that have realised that a) “greenery” has become popular; b) very few people understand the principle of “the poison is in the dose” and so are not in a position to judge what is dangerous to human health and what isn’t; and c) there is money to be made or kudos to be gained (or preferably both).

      It really is that simple, Phillip! As one line loses its appeal they simply switch to another. So at the moment we are back once again to air pollution. Next month something else which will allow the media to keep us in a state of alarm. Eventually the climate will bite them on the backside and they will need to dig out their “global cooling” thermals from the bottom drawer or they will go so far OTT as we all start to get totally bored with them that they will start a new campaign altogether.

      One thing is certain. They will not give up on their attempts to undermine western civilisation!

      • David Ashton permalink
        September 30, 2017 12:37 pm

        Excellent post MJ, we were encouraged to switch to diesel to reduce CO2, now encouraged to switch to electric vehicles due NOx and particulates. But the blob are already working on banning all private vehicles due to the particles from tyre wear and brake pads. ‘Deep Green’ will not be satisfied until the industrialised world is destroyed, and amazingly our politicians can’t see this.

  2. September 29, 2017 6:31 pm

    Yip-fecking-ee !!!

  3. John Ellyssen permalink
    September 29, 2017 6:42 pm

    From the beginning of this program, it showed a massive ignorance and deliberate lack of science, just like every phase of Anti-CO2 policies. Like allowing solar and wind farms to use basically unfiltered diesel generators as backup.

    Go back to fossil fuels and keep their exhaust as clean as possible until alternative systems are stable enough and cheap enough to be competitive.

  4. September 29, 2017 6:46 pm

    And there’s me being foolish enough to believe that burning a lump of wood in a matter of minutes is OK because it takes 50 or so years to grow a tree to replace it. Now we are told that instead of being “carbon neutral”, burning wood creates insufferable pollution in our towns and cities. I pity the poor sods who live near Drax. As has already been said, this fiasco encouraged by the green blob is total lunacy.

  5. September 29, 2017 6:49 pm

    I really have to scratch my head on this one. So the mayor of London wants to ban wood burning stoves even though another branch of the government is providing a subsidy to burn wood using a wood burning stove. Makes sense!! Government policies can be insane.

    But I am in the States and I have burned wood for 40 years. I go out my back door of my house and cut and split downed trees on my property and this keeps me warm during my cold winters. I use a very efficient wood stove, a Jotul Firelight Model #12 Wood Stove, with a built in catalytic converter which reduces air pollution. When I add up the cost of the wood stove and the cost of the flue/chimney, it is less than $2000. But the subsidy for wood stoves in Britain is 6,720 pounds ($9,000). This is a very, very generous subsidy.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 29, 2017 7:42 pm

      There is an even more generous subsidy scheme in Northern Ireland known colloquially as “Cash for ash”

    • HotScot permalink
      September 29, 2017 10:20 pm


      your example is an exercise in practicality.

      Unfortunately, most of the wood burning stoves in the UK are in city centres, where they are seen as a trendy addition rather than a practical necessity.

      People here don’t have the land available, nor the tree’s, to enjoy the luxury of cutting their own wood. They buy processed pellets, delivered wood, or stuff from the local petrol station forecourt to burn in their stoves. None are cheap.

      Consequently the inner city pollution rates soar, and the rest of the country is judged based on the urbanites, and suffer the consequences. Diesel engined road vehicles are a case in point.

    • September 30, 2017 11:18 am

      Perhaps the mayor of London would sanction the burning of camel dung.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 30, 2017 12:46 pm

        If the koran says it was necessary he would be all over it like a rash.

  6. Robert Fairless permalink
    September 29, 2017 7:01 pm

    What about Drax Power Station? It has recently been converted from coal to wood chips of which it runs many thousands of tons yearly.
    After building three factories in the USA where thousands of tons of forest are reduced to wood chips, all at great expense, is wood suddenly to go out of fashion? Or will false science and hypocrisy reign supreme.?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      September 29, 2017 8:51 pm

      No, no, Robert. It is wood pellets from sustainable forests not nasty wood chips from forests clear felled by capitalists. See the difference?
      And all the sheep chanted
      Wood chips bad,
      Wood pellets good.

      • John Ellyssen permalink
        September 30, 2017 12:48 am

        And that is why in the southern states and kentucky, Old forests are being cleared as it it is easier to chop down big mature trees to make pellets than lots of little shrubs and trash trees. All for Drax.

  7. Richard Woollaston permalink
    September 29, 2017 7:06 pm

    There is a particularly large wood burner at Drax

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 29, 2017 7:45 pm

    I noticed that Drax have launched some plans for 3.6GW of CCGT capacity, alongside a puny 200MW battery:

    Evidently they have seen the writing on the wall for woodchips.

  9. Bloke down the pub permalink
    September 29, 2017 8:45 pm

    Ooh, a smoke free zone, that’s a radical idea, err…

  10. Philip of Taos permalink
    September 29, 2017 9:45 pm

    Does that mean the Gov. will stop burning wood as biomass. Only Gov. are this Stupid.

  11. ben dussan permalink
    September 29, 2017 10:00 pm

    Residential wood burning stoves {pellets or chips} can be a significant source of toxic pollutants (CO and a variety of organic and inorganic compounds, particulates) and are inherently thermally inefficient: their performance goes downhill as they are used, particularly if they are not properly maintained and cleaned.

    While pellets may have a consistent size (unlike chips), they are made with a binder, which may add toxic substances to the gaseous and particulate emissions.

    • HotScot permalink
      September 29, 2017 10:22 pm


      Only a problem in inner cities, by which the rest of the country is judged, no matter how inappropriately.

      • ben dussan permalink
        September 29, 2017 11:37 pm


        I would say, perhaps somewhat of a “lesser problem” in rural areas. However, all add the toxic pollution to the air that people, and the rest of animals, birds et al, breathe in….

      • HotScot permalink
        September 30, 2017 1:21 am


        I believe from what I have read, there are 18 roads in the UK with levels of pollution regularly higher than that recommended for humans.

        I’m prepared to bet most of those roads are in the London area, probably within the M25 which is, roughly 35 miles in diameter. The remaining few will doubtless be in a few other inner cities, with a far smaller footprint than the Greater London area.

        I was brought up in a rural area 8 miles outside Glasgow city centre. I now live virtually on top of the M25/A2/M20 junction, probably one of the most polluted areas in Europe.

        I am yet to be convinced that pollution levels 5 miles south of me (towards the south coast) reach even a fraction of the pollution levels residents within the M25 area endure.

        I’m even less convinced that pollution levels 10 miles outside Glasgow even approach the levels of pollution endured within the M25.

        Most of the country is rural. Pollution levels across the country are inconsequential, other than in inner city areas which represent a tiny fraction of our island.

        Air pollution is, always has been, and always will be a consequence of people wanting to live in or around a city. However, they have a choice, suffer the consequences of their higher earnings, and associated inconvenience, like air pollution, or live in the country and enjoy clean air and lower wages.

        What I object to is inner city elites imposing their distorted perception of the state of the rest of the country, on the rest of the country, which bears no resemblance to their environment.

        I don’t think there is a single power station left in the M25 area. All London’s energy is provided by outlying power stations, and the pollution thereof, exported to the home counties.

        Why should they have to live with London’s pollution?

      • ben dussan permalink
        September 30, 2017 3:00 am


        Air within the atmosphere mixes and carries (pollutants et al) thousands of miles. I, for one, experience it first hand by being allergic to pollens from quite a few plants and trees: during relatively high pollen count I get affected randomly, no matter if I am in a metropolitan or rural area.

        Air at times becomes sort of stagnant, triggering pollution alerts {even where I live, over 15 miles from the city}.

        To me, pollution is more of a global problem, affecting to some degree just about everybody. And as the population increases, it will get worse unless it is reduced, say on a per capita basis.

      • HotScot permalink
        September 30, 2017 6:12 pm


        like CO2, pollen is not a pollutant.

        And whilst I have seen alerts for high pollen counts, I haven’t seen any for high ‘pollution’ levels other than as a post event report from the BBC.

      • ben dussan permalink
        September 30, 2017 11:22 pm


        Actually pollen, unlike CO2, can be characterized as a “pollutant” in that it can be harmful to humans: pollens are irritants to some people, causing allergic reactions as well as asthma attacks {which can be lethal if not treated on time}. Please note that I mentioned pollens only as evidence that air can carry particulate matter over extensive areas.

        Media {newspapers, radio and weather channels} do run pollution alerts across the pond.

      • HotScot permalink
        October 2, 2017 4:15 pm


        As pollen is longer established than mankind, I rather think we are the pollutant.

        I’m familiar with Asthma, my wife, head of a health department in one of the top 5 UK universities, suffers from it. Deaths from asthma are usually caused by people not following preventative guidelines like regular steroid use. Nor is it solely attributable to atmospheric conditions.

        Media in this country run pollen alerts, they don’t, to my knowledge, run pollution alerts as you earlier maintained, unless there is an extreme event.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 30, 2017 9:45 am

      Except none of that stuff is actually toxic. “Pollution” deaths are nothing more than statistical dredging that require data fiddling to produce a result. And even they suffer from the Exposure Fallacy.

      • ben dussan permalink
        September 30, 2017 1:22 pm


        So, CO, VOC and some of the particulates are not toxic?

        As I understand, there is substantial evidence that pollution not only contributes to death {or, early death} but also to a myriad of ailments: no need whatsoever for statistical dredging or data fiddling.

        I am not sure if you have {necessary and} sufficient knowledge and understanding of pollution,,,,

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 30, 2017 12:51 pm

      From my reading on the subject there is nothing added to make wood pellets other than pressure and…..heat. Yes, with great irony, heat is required to get the resin in the wood to hold it together when pressed. Otherwise you just have sawdust.

      • ben dussan permalink
        September 30, 2017 1:44 pm

        Gerry, England,

        You are correct, wood pellets appear to have no binders added. Apparently the bonding is a result of the heat of compression, generated in the manufacturing process, resulting in the release of a binding compound in the wood.

  12. HotScot permalink
    September 29, 2017 10:27 pm

    Nice article on the subject today on the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show.

    Chris Monckton was pitched against an environmentalist on the subject.

    The last word from the environmentalist was “thanks for trashing my credentials Chris” (I paraphrase) which might suggest Chris crucified another green.

    The truth of the matter is, the environmentalist was entirely reasonable on the subject and Chris congratulated him for his pragmatic approach.

  13. markl permalink
    September 30, 2017 3:15 am

    So another shoot – ready – aim solution by the eco – fascists comes to fruition. When will the people learn they are more interested in spreading ideology than providing solutions to problems…. imaginary or not.

  14. John F. Hultquist permalink
    September 30, 2017 5:39 am

    Washington State has programs, rules, incentives, and so on to reduce and/or improve efficiency of burning wood. Our house is all-electric so we need a backup for emergency heat during winter if the power stops — say a tree goes down across the wires or a drunk takes out a power pole. Our wood stove has a catalytic converter (burner) and is certified by the U.S. EPA. Older style wood stoves cannot be sold and frequent “stove roundups” can earn you $250 — turn it in and it will be scrapped.
    The Dept. of Ecology attempts to get people to replace their wood stoves with air-sourced heat pumps and, so, won’t work when there is no electricity. Also, we live 7 miles from the nearest gas line. An alternative is a large tank of Propane in the yard.
    I would prefer a stove isolated from living quarters with only the heat getting inside. When we win a big lottery, we’ll build a new house with ideas gained after living in many various situations.
    One of the things to include would be a fancy OLED (organic light-emitting diode) television screen showing logs burning, water falling, birds flying, or whatever fits one’s mood. Again, we await that big lottery win.

  15. The Rick permalink
    September 30, 2017 9:31 am

    Subsidized to burn wood in your home? Ponderous….though not as ponderous as using biomass from Norway, delivered to the head of Lake Superior (Thunder Bay) in Canada to generate electricity for that region (notwithstanding Canada is nothing but water and TREES)

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 30, 2017 9:48 am

    It us quite extraordinary that when we are stilt running a massive deficit and struggle to increase spending on things like health and educate., we are paying rich people to install trendy fires. And yes, it is rich people in London, .

  17. Bitter&twisted permalink
    September 30, 2017 10:15 am

    Oh I love it!
    The IYI brigade jump on every green boondoggle there is.
    Then moan when reality bites – diesel/wood burner/wind/solar.
    These morons deserve everything they get for being so feeble-minded and gullible.

    Me? I have my 55 year-old gas-guzzling Jag. No road tax, ridiculously cheap insurance.
    No wood burner and no “smart” meter.

  18. Simon Aston permalink
    September 30, 2017 12:16 pm

    Not much to add to the posted comments except that all this drivel from the green brigade is designed to show how we can all be saved from ourselves – under their control.

  19. Ben Vorlich permalink
    October 1, 2017 10:21 am

    Nitrogen can be fixed by [lightning] converting nitrogen and oxygen into NOx (nitrogen oxides), if there is oxygen in the air. NOx may react with water to make nitrite acid, which seeps into the soil, where it makes nitrate, which is of use to growing plants.

    One plant’s fertilizer is another man’s pollution.

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