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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan calls for ban on wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

The Mayor London, Sadiq Khan, has called on the UK government to grant him additional powers to potentially ban wood-burning stoves in some areas of London to combat air pollution.

Wood-burning stoves, which would be banned under the proposals for urban areas with poor air quality, are increasingly popular – 1.5 million have been sold across Britain. They are most popular in south-east England, where 16% of households have them, compared with 5% nationally.

It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of all of London’s fine-particle pollution comes from domestic wood burning. In January, during a period of very high air pollution, it contributed half the toxic emissions in some areas of the capital, according to King’s College London research.

‘Hard-hitting plan’

Khan said: “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles.

“With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and such significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer and I am calling on government to provide the capital with the necessary powers to effectively tackle harmful emissions from a variety of sources.”

The Mayor has asked the environment department to amend the Clean Air Act to allow for the creation of zero-emission zones where the burning of solid fuel is not allowed from 2025 onwards.

The Stove Industry Alliance and Woodsure, the UK’s woodfuel accreditation scheme, have recently launched their voluntary “eco-design ready” and “Ready to Burn” labels for stoves and fuels to help consumers make the right choice in London and other smoke control areas.

In a statement, Khan said he believed that more should be done to “empower consumers to make the right choice, including better information at the point of sale and mandatory labelling of products that are legal to use in smoke control areas”.

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