Are Daily Mail readers are creating killer smog over London?
The air in London is not A1. It’s not good enough to be canned and sold as restoratives to New Yorkers. It’s a bit dirty. A friend tells me that when you can see the air move your know you’re in London. Last week the air in the capital was pretty thick. Visibility was poor. Today the Mail‘s Ross Clark wonders: “Are trendy wood-burners taking us back to the pea soupers of the 1950s?”
Can we blame wood burning stoves for the bad air? In a word: maybe. In two words: maybe not.
Ross thinks he’s on to something. He ends the story, in which he admits he doesn’t know precisely what wood-burning stoves do to the air, by saying: “How ironic, then, that trendy British homeowners are being encouraged to poison our own air.” A pox on those trendy fools. Maybe they were encouraged by stories like the one which told people to get a wood-burner to save money on heating bills and make a home “cosy”. You can read in the Mail, which in November 2016 advised its trendy readers:
One way of making a home more cosy this winter – and potentially saving money along the way – is installing a wood-burning stove. While the initial outlay can be expensive, they can reduce your fuel bills, while at the same time being a fashionable addition to your home.
But what about the pollution?
New regulations being introduced from 2022 will see a limit on emissions on wood-burners. A total of 7 per cent of all smoke emissions in cities is attributed to wood-burning – although the majority of this is from wood-burning in gardens, on open fires and from old stoves.
Now worries, then. Which is odd because the Mail had previously told its readers in February 2016:
Could your wood burner KILL you? Air pollution caused by the popular stoves is linked to cancer, diabetes and asthma
In 2015, on Mail writers told us how he bought wood-burner “TOBY WALNE: WOODBURNING MY WAY TO SUCCESS.”
And in December 2014:
Wood-burning stoves are fuelling rise in winter smog: Levels of one form of the pollution surge during colder months
And in February 2011:
Wood-burning stoves ‘can be as deadly as exhaust fumes’ by producing smoke that can cause heart disease
Meanwhile, King’s College London says the pollution is cause by cold, calm and settled conditions combined with “traffic pollution and air pollution from wood burning”. Weather and lots of vehicles might have something to do with a city’s poor air quality.