City of York Council backs Clean Air Night

As winter draws in and the nights get cold, the council is supporting Clean Air Night (24 January) to raise awareness of the dangers of burning wood and other solid fuels in the home.

While it might appear more cost-effective to use a wood stove or fireplace with rising energy costs this winter, research shows that this is not the case. Research undertaken by environmental charity Global Action Plan demonstrates that burning wood is almost always more expensive than other forms of heating.

The Clean Air Night Campaign, run by the Global Action Plan, will take place on Wednesday 24 January, and aims to debunk the myths about solid fuel burning by shining a spotlight on how wood burning:

Harms your wallet: wood burning is almost always more expensive than other forms of heating.

Harms your health: lighting fires in our homes is the largest source of harmful small particulate matter air pollution in the UK.

Harms the planet: wood burning creates more harmful CO2 emissions compared to other forms of heating.

In York, Clean Air Night is being promoted alongside the council’s hard-hitting Fuel for Thought campaign that highlights the dangers woodburning can post to your health, your wallet and the air quality in the city.

The Fuel for Thought campaign aims to highlight the healthier and more cost-effective ways of heating homes, and, if unavoidable, the safest and most efficient ways of using your wood burner.

Cllr Kate Ravilious, Joint Executive Member for Environment and Climate Emergency at City of York Council, said:

“Using a wood burner or solid fuel stove triples the level of harmful air pollution in your home and even the wood burning stoves that meet the highest eco-design standards emit 750 times more tiny particles than a modern HGV truck.

“Clean Air Night is an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of burning solid fuels in the home, on alternative heat sources, and when it is the only option, the best way to do so to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

Cllr Jo Coles, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said:

“It’s really worrying that people in York could be dying because of air pollution caused by something as simple as the burning of wood and coal. Yet we know that exposure to smoke particles can cause a wide range of serious health problems, including heart and lung disease and mental health disorders.

“This campaign is about increasing awareness of the dangers and enabling people to find healthy and cost-effective ways to heat their homes and reduce unnecessary air pollution.”

The council is currently seeking feedback on air quality in York and specifically on the measures to improve air quality proposed in its draft Fourth Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP4). The plan outlines the action the council will take to further improve air quality over the next 5 years, to go beyond health-based National Air Quality Objectives in all areas and work towards meeting World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines. It closes on 4 February 2024.