Wood Burning Pollution in London

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Wood Burning Pollution in London

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:20 pm

"EU has created a subsidy which costs a packet, probably does not reduce carbon emissions, and does not encourage new energy technologies"

Wood Burning Pollution in London

By Jack Dini——Previous Articles--October 10, 2017

The use of wood for electricity generation and heat in modern technologies has grown rapidly in recent years. For its supporters, it represents a relatively cheap and flexible way of supplying renewable energy with benefits to global climate and to forest industries. For its critics, Duncan Brack adds this important observation, “Overall while some instances of biomass energy use may result in lower life-cycle emissions than fossil fuels, in most circumstances, comparing technologies of similar ages, the use of woody biomass for energy will release higher levels of emissions than coal and considerably higher levels than gas.” 1

Wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular in middle class homes and hotels

Support for this latter statement comes from London. The last 100 years has been a success story of cleaner air in London. But air pollution is on the rise again. The fear of carbon is partly responsible for over a million people returning to burning ‘renewable wood’ instead of clean gas and turning around a century long trend. Joanne Nova says, “Welcome to the ‘progressive ’ 21st century. As much as a third of small particle pollution is due to wood fires.” 2

Wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular in middle class homes and hotels, with 1.5 million across Britain and 200,000 sold annually. Old fireplaces have also been opened up in many houses and can cause greater pollution than stoves. Wood burning is most popular in the southeast, where it is done in 16 percent of the households compared with less than 5 percent in northern England and Scotland.

Between a quarter and a third of all fine particle pollution in London comes from domestic wood burning. During a period of very high air pollution in January, it contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of the city.2

In response to a London smog alert, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) is calling on the Government to abolish all support for diesel engines and wood-burners which are posing a growing threat to the health of urban populations.3

The mayor of London is seeking to prohibit all burning of wood in parts of the capital with poor air quality

The mayor of London is seeking to prohibit all burning of wood in parts of the capital with poor air quality. He also wants tighter curbs on wood-burning stoves, with only low-emission versions allowed to stay on sale. 4

Up to 65% of Europe’s renewable output currently comes from bio-energy involving fuels such as wood pellets and chips, rather than wind and solar power. As The Economist notes, “In short, the EU has created a subsidy which costs a packet, probably does not reduce carbon emissions, and does not encourage new energy technologies.” 5

1. Duncan Brack, “Woody biomass for power and heat,” Environment, Energy and Resources Department, February 2017
2. Joanne Nova, “Renewable energy pollutes London but what’s a bit of smog if you’re saving the world,” joannenova.com, October 1, 2017
3. “GWPF: Government support for wood burning partly to blame for rising smog threat,” Global Warming Policy Forum, January 24, 2017
4. Ben Webster, “Wood-burning stoves face ban in pollution crackdown in London,” thetimes.co.uk, September 29, 2017
5. “The fuel of the future,” The Economist, April 6, 2013

http://canadafreepress.com/article/wood ... -pollution

Should Wood-Burners Be Banned?

Oct 11 2017 Comments 0

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has responded to the city’s seventh emergency air quality alert in just 13 months with a plea to the government to give him more powers in curbing air pollution. Specifically, Khan has targeted wood-burning stoves and construction as the focal points of his strategy in bringing London’s runaway air quality crisis under control.

Khan wrote last week to Michael Gove, the government’s Secretary for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). In his missive, Khan asked Gove to amend the Clean Air Act and give London (and other cities, as well) the power to ban wood-burning stoves and impose minimum emissions limits on heavy duty construction machinery.

The rise and rise of the wood-burner

Over recent years, wood-burning stoves have become an increasingly popular option in households. Initially marketed by some companies as a green alternative to other methods of heating, millions of Britons now have the units in their home.

There are currently 1.5 million of the stoves across the country, with the majority of these concentrated in the southeast of England. Here, 16% of the populace own a wood-burner; nationally, that figure falls to just 5%.

However, recently conducted research from London King’s College has concluded that wood combustion is a major source of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), with studies claiming that nearly a third (31%) of all PM2.5 pollution in the capital is caused by stoves. PM2.5 is believed to be one of the worst offending pollutants, linked with diverse conditions such as diabetes, autism and depression, as well as a whole host of cardiac and respiratory complaints.

Khan seeks action

In response, Khan has attempted to make serious strides in the fight against air pollution in his city by proposing a ban on the use of the stoves in urban areas suffering from particularly poor air quality. Khan also advocated bringing forward the date for the prohibition of all but the newest, cleanest stoves, a law which had been earmarked for 2022.

An outcry from thousands of London residents who had been led to believe that the wood-burners were helping the environment instead of hindering it has caused Khan to clarify his proposals. He now claims the ban would not apply to householders but rather commercial locations (such as restaurants and hotels) and that it would only be enforced on days with particularly poor air quality.

He has also sought to tighten up legislation surrounding construction emissions. Compared with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) which applies to power plants and factories, the regulations surrounding diggers, bulldozers and the suchlike is positively lax, argues Khan. He plans to introduce new limits on emissions and a database of machinery to help enforce those limits.

While an outright ban on wood-burners now seems highly unlikely, the evidence against the contaminating units is steadily mounting. All but the cleanest machines may have their days numbered - measured in the years, rather than decades, if Khan has his way.

https://www.pollutionsolutions-online.c ... nned/44075

12 October 2017
Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014

By Andy Coghlan

Filthy air killed half a million people in Europe prematurely in 2014. So says a report on air quality from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe,” says the EEA.

By far the biggest killer was PM2.5, the soup of tiny particles measuring 2.5 micrometres across or less. These claimed an estimated 428,000 premature deaths across the 41 European countries tracked in 2014. The main source, contributing 57 per cent of PM2.5 emissions in 2015, was domestic wood burning, especially in eastern Europe.

Nitrogen dioxide, mostly from vehicle exhausts, cut short an estimated 78,000 lives across the same 41 countries. Ground-level ozone was the other major killer, claiming an estimated 14,400 lives prematurely.

“Heart disease and stroke are the most common reasons for premature death attributable to air pollution, and are responsible for 80 per cent of cases,” the report says. Air pollution also contributes to other respiratory diseases and cancer, and has non-lethal impacts on diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy and brain development in children.

Hotspots of bad air

The two worst hotspots for PM2.5 pollution were Poland and northern Italy, where dozens of cities exceeded the EU’s annual mean limit of 25 micrograms of particles per cubic metre of air. “Poland and the Po valley have very bad pollution,” says Alberto González Ortiz, the report’s lead author.

The worst offender was the city of Krakow in Poland, where the PM2.5 value was 44 micrograms. Levels also reached 40 micrograms in Macedonia. More than a dozen Polish cities exceeded 30 micrograms, as did cities in northern Italy including Milan, Padua, Cremona, Brescia, Venice and Turin.

In all, 7 to 8 per cent of Europe’s urban population was exposed to PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded the EU limit. But when the World Health Organization’s stricter limit of 10 micrograms was used as a benchmark, between 82 and 85 per cent of urban Europeans were exposed.

The UK saw an estimated 37,600 premature deaths from PM2.5 exposure in 2014. The worst hotspot was 16 micrograms, along London’s Marylebone Road, followed by 15 micrograms on a roadside in Haringey, north London.

But the UK also saw many premature deaths from exposure to nitrogen dioxide: about 14,000. This was compounded by widespread use of diesel fuel in vehicles. In one part of London, the annual limit for nitrogen dioxide was exceeded as early as 6 January this year. In September, London mayor Sadiq Khan triggered the capital’s seventh emergency air quality alert since he introduced the system a year ago. Impacts from nitrogen dioxide were also high in Germany, France and Spain.

Overall, emissions are falling, but slowly, says Ortiz. He says the air would get cleaner faster if countries further limited their numbers of vehicles, burned cleaner fuels for heating and created more pedestrianised areas. Ortiz also recommends adapting infrastructure to suit cycling and promoting wider use of public transport.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/21 ... e-in-2014/
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