Martin Lewis predicts when energy prices could drop slightly
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Households that use wood-burning stoves face tighter restrictions, including on-the-spot £300 fines and a criminal record, as the Government aims to improve air pollution and clamp down on the oldest and most-polluting log burners. But do you think non-compliant appliances should result in fines? Vote in our poll.
Log burners have become more popular over the last decade as Britons look for alternative heating methods to manage spiralling energy bills. Over half a million people will use wood-burning stoves this winter, and industry experts report fears of a potential shortage as thousands more turn to the appliance as demand rose by nearly 40 per cent between April and June compared to the same period last year.
The Government limits the amount of smoke wood-burning stoves can release, but this is rarely enforced. Local authorities can impose fines to enforce smoke control in urban areas yet English councils have issued just 17 fines in the last six years, despite more than 18,000 complaints. The Government has now instructed on-the-spot civil penalties to be handed out from £175 to £300, while persistent offenders could face criminal prosecutions and fines of up to £5,000.
The move comes as the Government aims to reduce the amount of smoke produced, with control areas covering London, Birmingham, and Manchester among other UK towns and cities. The limit will be reduced from five grams of smoke per hour to three grams as part of a pledge to “drive a shift away from older, more polluting appliances” towards cleaner stoves.
Andrea Lee from charity ClientEarth said: “Pollution from wood-burning is a growing source of fine particulate matter pollution in some areas, which is a serious threat to people’s health.”
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey ruled out a ban on wood-burning stoves but said some users did not understand the effects on the environment. She said: “I want an educational approach. We want people to do the right thing.”
So what do YOU think? Should households with non-compliant log burners be fined? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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