Sadiq Khan has called for a ban on wood burning stoves in London. Still in its early stages, his petition to the environment secretary recommends that wood burners are prohibited in poor air quality areas when the smog is at its worst.
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In an attempt to reassure the thousands of Londoners who bought the stoves in good faith, the focus will be on educating owners not to burn wood during bad air quality episodes. Authorities will reserve enforcement for commercial users such as hotels. There are about 1.5m stoves in the UK and 200,000 are sold annually, with the appliances often marketed as a green form of home heating. However, there has been growing concern over their environmental impact. Researchers at King’s College London have found that wood-burning in the capital accounts for up to 31% of the city’s particulate pollution, up from 10% in the past. The tiny particles, known as PM2.5, are the most harmful type of air pollution and exacerbate lung and heart conditions.