Paris Log Fire Ban Goes Up In Flames

Parisians were left fuming earlier this month when the local government announced it was to ban log fires in the French capital. Now, the country’s Ecology Minister has got involved, promising Tuesday to overturn the “ridiculous” measure.

Authorities in the Ile de France region, which includes the French capital, issued an order on December 5 banning all Paris residents from lighting log fires from January in an effort to tackle the city’s high pollution levels. Residents from a further 435 towns in the region would also be banned from burning wood in open fires, although they would still be allowed to use cleaner, closed-combustion fireplaces.

The proposed ban, backed by Paris’s Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo, sparked anger among many of the capital’s residents as well the city’s chimney sweeps, who feared being made jobless by the measure. The order was branded “stupid” by Thierry Pujo, of the Paris Chimney Sweeps firm, who said that wood burning fires were an insignificant part of the capital’s pollution problem.

"Of the 135,000 open fireplaces in Paris, ten percent are used and even these are used only six to seven times a year,” he told AFP. “Roaring fires are kept for family gatherings, Christmas, friends or romantic rendezvous.” But the ban has now been thrown into doubt after Ségolène Royal, the Socialist government’s Ecology Minister, said she would act to reverse the “excessive” measure. “I will have this decision, which does not go in the right direction, changed,” she told France 2 television, adding that the ban was “a bit ridiculous”.
Figures disputed To justify the ban, the regional government’s environment and energy department released figures stating wood burning makes up 23 percent of damaging fine particle emissions in the Ile-de-France area – the same proportion as motor vehicles. But these statistics have been called into question by other experts. Airparif, which monitors air quality in and around Paris, has said that wood burning is responsible for just four percent of such emissions, compared to 39 percent from cars.

Royal said she was “very surprised” by the figures used by the regional authorities. “You have to be a little bit reasonable,” she added. “I am not in favour of a society of prohibitions.”

Since coming to power, Paris mayor Hidalgo has made cutting the city’s pollution levels a priority.

The French capital suffers from period spikes in pollution that have been deemed a risk to the public. The situation became so severe at one point earlier this year that Paris authorities took the drastic step of banning half of vehicles from using the city’s roads.

On Sunday, Hidalgo revealed plans to phase out the use of diesel vehicles in the city and ban them completely by 2020 in another measure aimed at cutting pollution.

Paris Log Fire Ban Goes Up In Flames


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