Domestic wood burning biggest PM emitter in the UK

Domestic wood burning has become the single biggest source of small-particle (PM2.5) air pollution in the UK, producing three times more than road traffic, according to new emission inventory data.

According to a separate government-commissioned report, the wood-burning pollution is caused by only eight per cent of the population. Almost half of these were affluent and many chose a fire for aesthetic reasons, rather than heat.

In 2019, the use of wood in domestic combustion activities accounted for 38 per cent of PM2.5 emissions. Emissions of PM2.5 from domestic wood burning more than doubled between 2003 and 2019 (from 20 to 41 thousand tonnes) and increased by 1.0 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Industrial combustion and processes are another major source, together accounting for 33 per cent of PM2.5 in 2019. Road transport remains a significant source of PM2.5 emissions (12 per cent in 2019). Due to stricter emissions standards, vehicle exhaust emissions have decreased by 85 per cent over the last 25 years, but this has been partially offset by an increase in non-exhaust emissions (e.g. brake, tyre and road wear) as traffic activity has increased.


Source: Guardian, 16 February 2021.

Link to UK emissions inventory report:

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