Woodburning stoves not to blame for poor air quality, says manufacturer

ESSE claims quality wood produces minimal emissions as government cracks down on pollutants

firemizer is a mesh to go on the bottom of fires and stoves to reduce pollution
(Image credit: Firemizer)

A woodburning stove maker has come to the defence of this fashionable form of home heating after the government announced a crackdown on emissions from them.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove revealed new measures to reduce emissions and improve the quality of the fuel being used in the stoves as part of a new Clean Air Strategy.

It was prompted by increasing concern over the quality of air above urban areas. Mr Gove described the burning of wood and coal to heat the home as being ‘of particular concern’ as it ‘contributes 38 per cent of UK emissions of damaging particulate matter. Cleaner fuels and stoves produce less smoke, less soot and more heat. In future, only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale.’

ESSE, which has has pioneered the development of clean burning, low emission stoves for more than 160 years, defended such products, claiming, ‘It is unfair and plain wrong to suddenly lay the blame for poor air quality at the door of either stove manufacturers or owners.’

David Randlesome, ESSE Engineering’s technical and customer services manager, commented: ‘Saying the UK is in breach of European air quality rules because of wood burners is ridiculous given the numbers of such stoves in regular use in Europe and Scandinavia, where ownership and usage is far higher.

‘Wood is a renewable resource, and over the last decade, wood-burning stoves have been seen as helpfully reducing our carbon footprint. As long as owners ensure they burn locally sourced, good quality wood, particulate emissions are minimal.’

A 5kW Exempt Appliance approved for use in Smoke Control Zones emits less than seven grams of particulates per hour, and the majority only operate for a few hours a day in the winter months. 

The government’s proposed new measures – which are subject to continuing consultation – will not penalise existing woodburning stove owners, but may tighten emissions standards for new solid fuel stoves and empower local authorities to crackdown on the sale of low quality, unseasoned fire wood.

David Randlesome added: ‘It is encouraging to see some common sense from the government, and we hope this will allow consumers to make an informed decision on how they heat their homes.’

Clever mesh cuts air pollution

Another British company is offering to come to the aid of woodburning stove owners with its pollution-reducing product, the Firemizer.

According to its manufacturer, the fuel-saving mesh grid, which is woven from stainless steel alloys, is placed on the base of your stove or hearth where it can help reduce the number of particulates produced by fire by 72 per cent. Made in Nottingham, Firemizer's chief executive, Brian Irvine, says it has been tested by Nottingham and Cambridge Universities who confirmed that it conserves solid fuel resources while improving heat output.

Firemizer is a new product that can be laid at the bottom of stoves and fires to reduce pollution

Firemizer is a new product that can be laid at the bottom of stoves and fires to reduce pollution

(Image credit: firemizer)

Brian Irvine adds: 'Our end goal is to provide a Firemizer for every home with a log burner/multi-fuel stove, fireplace, barbecues and even a pizza oven installed. The economic and environmental changes the country could see with this alone is phenomenal. Co2 emissions could be reduced by 540,000 tonnes per year in the UK if all the coal fires used the product.’

Firemizer can be purchased online for £19.99 at firemizer.com.

Alison Jones
Assistant Editor

Alison is Assistant Editor on Real Homes magazine. She previously worked on national newspapers, in later years as a film critic and has also written on property, fashion and lifestyle. Having recently purchased a Victorian property in severe need of some updating, much of her time is spent solving the usual issues renovators encounter.