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Wood burners partly blamed for rise in air pollution

With high air pollution levels making national headlines recently, it seems that history could be repeating itself!

Back in the 1950’s, the burning of coal was blamed for the Great Smog of 1952 which resulted in the deaths of around 4,000 Londoners and the introduction of smokeless zones in many urban areas across the UK, where the burning of coal is banned.

Today, several factors contribute to dirty air across the UK including high levels of particulates from diesel car engines and the increasing popularity of burning firewood on wood burning stoves.

If you own a wood burning stove and you’re now thinking that you shouldn't be using it, don’t forget about an old favourite - smokeless coal!

Smokeless coal was developed in the 1950’s to combat this exact problem of air pollution whilst still allowing people living in smokeless zones a fuel that they could use on their fireplace.

Smokeless coal not only produces far fewer harmful particulates than burning wood, but it also produces a higher heat and far longer burning time than firewood so it could save you money in the long term as well.

Can my stove burn smokeless coal?

In our experience many people talk about their wood burning stove, when in actual fact they have a multi-fuel stove capable of burning both smokeless coal or firewood.

If your stove has a flat solid floor without a fixed grate, then you have a wood-burner and should not use this to burn smokeless coal.

If you have a fixed metal grate at the bottom of your stove and an air vent at the front, then you have a multi-fuel stove which is perfectly fine for burning smokeless coal.

However, you may own a DEFRA exempt appliance, which essentially means you can burn wood on the appliance in a smokeless zone. This exemption only applies to some more modern stoves so check with the manufacturer if you’re not sure.

Why not take a look at our interactive fuel chooser so you can find the best and most suitable fuel for your appliance.