To be legal in most cities and towns, householders either have to use a Defra-approved stove – open fires are banned – or burn smokeless fuel. Yet anyone can still buy firewood at supermarkets and on garage forecourts, take it home and burn it. Despite obvious evidence of chimney smoke and logs stacked outside houses, spot checks don’t happen. This sits at odds with the image of wood as an ecologically-friendly fuel. Chopping down one tree usually begets another, in the empty space, a process of natural regeneration, and the new tree absorbs carbon as it grows. So is firewood a good or a bad fuel? While clean air campaigners have identified firewood as responsible for up to 31 per cent of pollution in London and Birmingham, those who produce it see the opposite: as one way of making the environment better. Not only is it close to carbon-neutral, it is also one of the economic drivers of keeping forests healthy.
FT 11th Oct 2018 read more »