Wood burning accounts for a quarter of PM emissions...

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Wood burning accounts for a quarter of PM emissions...

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:50 pm

Wood burning accounts for a quarter of PM emissions in major cities

Wood burning accounts for between 23 and 31% of fine particulate (PM2.5) emissions in London and Birmingham, although emissions have not risen in recent years, a major study has suggested.

Findings of the research by King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) – which were compiled on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – were published last week.

Wood burning accounts for between 23 and 31% of fine particulate (PM2.5) emissions in London and Birmingham, a study has estimated

Research will likely inform policy developments at Defra, which is seeking to draw up plans to improve air quality from sources including domestic solid fuel burning. A consultation was launched last week calling for information on the use of solid fuels in homes (see airqualitynews.com story).

The study, from which initial results were presented in the summer (see airqualitynews.com story), looked at the long term trends in PM emissions from wood smoke in UK cities using aethalometer data from Defra’s black carbon network from 2009 to 2016.


According to the research, air pollution from wood burning was greatest in winter and “almost absent” in summer. It suggested that mean wintertime PM from wood burning varied between cities, ranging between 0.2 and 2.7µg m3.

On annual basis wood burning in PM2.5 ranged between 4 to 6% as an average across rural areas; and between 6 to 9% averaged across urban areas.

It was estimated that wood burning was between 23 and 31% of the urban derived PM2.5 in London and Birmingham, “making control of wood burning an important urban issue”, the researchers claimed.

Interestingly, the study noted that a long term downward trend in PM from wood burning – 0.03 (-0.05, -0.01) µg/m3 year had been recorded between 2009 and 2015.

This was met with surprise by the researchers, due to a reported growth in the number of householders burning wood in the home for heat.

The report notes: “This was unexpected given anticipated growth in biomass combustion due to policy initiatives aimed at increasing production of heating and electricity from renewable and low-carbon energy sources. UK Industry data also suggests stove sales are running at between 150,000 and 200,000 units per year with over one million stoves sold between in 2010 and 2015.

“One possible explanation for the observed trend is the replacement of high emission fireplaces with newer, and lower emission wood stoves, balancing an increase in total wood heating.”

Stove manufacturers have welcomed the findings of the study, which they claim supports the theory that the replacement of older stoves with newer, more efficient models, is helping to reduce emissions.


However, the organisation warned that there is evidence to suggest that a large volume of wood being burnt in homes – particularly in London – is thought to be on open fires, which will potentially prevent further reductions in emissions.

In a statement, the Stove Industry Alliance said: “The outcome of the study reflects the fact that only Defra Exempt stoves, with emissions that meet strict Defra limits on emissions can be installed in smoke control areas.

“The reduction may not have been as great as we would all have liked but the decrease in emissions is partly offset by the continued use of open fires to burn wood. Although burning wood in an open fire is not permitted under the Clean Air Act, 70% of the wood burnt in London is on an open fire.”

Looking ahead, the study suggests that increases in PM emissions are likely based on an expected rise in biomass burning for energy over the next two decades. Additional coverage for the aethalometer network will be needed to track changes in trends the report suggests.

Related Links [PDF]
Report – Airborne emissions from wood burning in UK cities
https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/docu ... _FINAL.pdf

https://www.airqualitynews.com/2018/02/ ... or-cities/
Air pollution in London passes levels in Beijing... and wood burners are making problem worse

Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

25 January 2017 • 10:05am

Air pollution in London passed levels in Beijing this week, figures have shown, with popular wood burning stoves blamed for exacerbating the problem.

On Monday London mayor Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time, and said on Tuesday that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’

Readings at 3pm on Monday showed that air at locations in the capital were worse than in notoriously smoggy Beijing, hitting a peak 197 micrograms per cubic metre for particulate matter on the Air Quality Index. Pollution in the Chinese city only reached 190, which is still deemed ‘unhealthy.’

Although nitrogen dioxide levels in London rose higher than China in 2014, it is believed to be the first time particulate readings have exceeded those in the far east.

Wood burners release significant amounts of particulates and are responsible for 10 per cent of winter pollution

Experts at King’s College London said the recent spell of unhealthy pollution was the worst since April 2011 in the capital and was being caused by cold, calm and settled conditions combined with ‘traffic pollution and air pollution from wood burning.’

Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight over the last few days, meaning householders are burning more fuel to keep warm.

“This was the largest contribution from wood burning measured during the winter so far,” said a spokesman for King’s College.

More than a million homes in Britain now have a wood burning stove with 175,000 new ones installed every year.

Demand for the stoves, which cost between £400 and £7,000, has tripled in the last five years – partly down to the savings they can make to energy bills.

Last year experts at the University of Southampton warned that wood burners 'liberate significant amounts of particulate pollution into the outdoor air’ and said they risked undoing the good work of the Clean Air Act which was brought in following the Great Smog of 1952, which is estimated to have killed 12,000 people.

Over the past few days, many parts of the capital have recorded double the legal limits of emissions. Some schools banned children from playing outdoors, and Public Health England warned people not to exercise outside.

The mayor said the situation was becoming so toxic to children that hundreds of schools will now be audited to see whether gates and play areas can be moved away from busy roads.

‘No idling’ zones are likely to be implemented to prevent drivers leaving their engines running while waiting for children on the school run, while the most polluting vehicles may be banned entirely from driving up to entrances.

Schools will also be encouraged to plant hedges and bushes around their sites to provide barriers to block out fumes and children will be encouraged to walk and cycle to cut down on lifts.

Mr Khan said: "Every child deserves the right to breathe clean air in London and it is a shameful fact that more than 360 of our primary schools are in areas breaching legal pollution limits.

"London's filthy air is a health crisis and our children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of air pollution.

He said the new air quality audits would be "a strong step towards helping some of the most polluted schools in London identify effective solutions to protect pupils from toxic fumes".

Air pollution from sources including factories and vehicles, particularly diesel engines, is linked to the early deaths of around 40,000 people a year in the UK - and causes problems such as heart and lung diseases and asthma.

In children it can lead to coughs, bronchitis and asthma, and harm the development of their lungs and brains.

A letter from 100 London schools, coordinated by Greenpeace, is calling on the mayor to tackle diesel vehicles on the roads, make walking and cycling to school safer, boost public transport and speed up the switch to clean vehicles.

The British Lung Foundation also called for more to be done to clean up London’s air and said the government must consider banning diesel cars.

“Children living and attending school in highly polluted areas are more likely to have damaged lungs when they grow up,” said Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation.

“Air pollution contributes to 9,500 early deaths in London every year. It worsens existing lung conditions and increases the risk of getting lung cancer.

“It’s a complete no-brainer: investing in making cycling and walking safer and more accessible in our cities - and moving towards ditching diesel will not only help clear up our roads, but will clean up the air we’re all breathing too.”

@BBCOxford High #airpollution levels in #Oxford already this AM but no gov alert to warn people of health impact pic.twitter.com/FqyDNDbDME
— Healthy Air (@HealthyAirUK) 24 January 2017

Rebecca Abrahams, head teacher at St Luke's Church of England school in Tower Hamlets, said: "We have a duty to protect the children in our care, but sadly, even while they play outside at lunch, they are being harmed by invisible air pollution from traffic.

"Given what we know about the life-long consequences of exposure to air pollution as a child, it's imperative we clean up London's air without delay."

Friends of the Earth London campaigner, Sophie Neuburg said: “We strongly welcome any action to protect children’s growing lungs, and no-idling zones around schools are an important way to reduce children’s exposure to pollution.

“But schools shouldn’t have to take dramatic steps such as moving playgrounds and entrances to keep their pupils safe - London’s children deserve better.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017 ... rs-making/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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