UK’s Clean Air Strategy, Changing Fire Safety Regulations for Lanlords

Many citizens may not understand that air pollution ranks fourth on the “biggest public health threat” scale, coming in behind cancer, obesity and heart disease. With this concern in mind, the UK government recently released its 2019 Clean Air Strategy plan. The plan outlines the government’s blueprint for reducing various emissions, improving technology, and changing building standards to protect public health.

Reducing Emissions

With air quality being one of the UK’s most significant environmental threats, government and health officials are understandably concerned about public health. Short-term and long-term exposure to certain pollutants can have adverse effects on citizens, particularly seniors, young children, or those with pre-existing conditions. As a result, certain changes are being proposed that should help reduce emissions on local and national levels.

Burning in open fires and stoves equates to 38% of the UK’s primary emissions of fine particulate matter (PM). Throughout the UK, roughly 1.5 million households use wood for fuel. For many, an open fireplace is their only source of heat. Landlords may soon be faced with the task of ensuring wood and coal burning stoves and fireplaces are compliant with new codes that aim to reduce emissions of PM.

Improving TechnologySmog

In some cases, landlords may be required to modify properties by installing new stoves and fireplaces in older, non-compliant buildings as a result of the proposed changes to regulations. Although the technology to reduce airborne contaminants is still being developed, many stoves on the market today are already eco-design compliant. “They won’t look any different,” says Dennis Milligan with the UK’s Stove Industry Alliance. “But the technology will allow combustion higher up in the fire chamber so that re-ignites any particles of wood that are in the smoke, so the emissions that come out of the chimney are reduced by 80%...”

Changing Building Standards

With cleaner stoves and fireplaces comes the need to ensure proper ventilation in homes and businesses to reduce the build-up of indoor air pollutants. The use of cleaner fuels will assist with this problem, but the government predicts it will make changes to existing building standards as well. Landlords and letters can make simple changes now to limit emissions. Choosing to use cleaner fuels in cleaner appliances installed by a professional is a major step in the right direction. Knowing how to operate fireplaces and stoves efficiently and safely will make a big difference when it comes to protecting human health in the UK.

 By Cassie Steele

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