A HOMEOWNER is refusing to ditch her common household appliance even though she could be hit with a £300 fine.
Lisa Markwell said having a wood burner stove helps reduce her energy bills as well as warming her house and won’t be giving it up.
It comes after the government vowed to crack down on the oldest and dirtiest appliances in the home.
People who flout air pollution rules when it comes to wood-burning stoves could face on-the-spot £300 fines and could even get a criminal record.
Lisa lives in a terrace house, complete with a burner, in London along with her husband, kids and their dogs but grew up in the shires where having an open fire was quite normal.
She’s vowed though to never give up her stove even if she is repeatedly slapped with fines.
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Writing in The Telegraph, she said: “Even if I kept getting slapped with fines for my flaming habit, I’d never give it up (perhaps I’d upgrade if a super-non-smoky one was invented). They can prise my kindling from my cold, dead hand.”
She added: “It’s not hurting anybody, surely? How can my beloved stove – which is simultaneously warming the family, encouraging the bread dough to prove, using up a waste product and lowering my heating bills – be anything but good?”
Lisa said that having the fire was “a joy” and lit one almost every evening.
Addressing the issue of was she contributing to the poor air quality in her area, she said her neighbours had never complained.
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She claimed the “engine-idling delivery drivers” were the “real” polluters and even her gas hob was “more harmful”.
Around one million households in the UK enjoy getting cosy in front of a log burner.
But local authorities responsible for enforcing smoke control rules in urban areas have found it difficult to take people to court and provide evidence beyond reasonable doubt in terms of pollution.
English councils only issued 17 fines over six years despite over 18,000 complaints.
And the government has now instructed local authorities to consider using powers in the 2021 Environment Act to issue on-the-spot civil penalties.
These can range from £175 all the way to a sizeable £300.
For the most persistent offenders, councils will also be able to pursue criminal prosecutions that could result in a fine of up to £5,000, as well as an additional £2,500 for every day the breach continues.
The popularity of wood-burning stoves has grown rapidly in the past decade as they became something of a middle-class status symbol.
Emissions of one of the most harmful types of air pollution from domestic wood burning, tiny particles known as PM2.5, increased by 35 per cent between 2010 and 2020.
For some people, log burning has proved a handy alternative for heating their homes amid rising energy costs this winter.
According to the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), the the cost of burning kiln dried logs is between £150 to £190 per cubic metre.
Based on annual wood log usage of between 3-4 cubic meters, the total cost would be approximately £600 to 700 a year.
Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary, said that some stove users did not understand the effects on the environment, particularly those with poor-quality models or people who are burning wet wood.
Coffey said: “I want an educational approach. We want people to do the right thing."
However, Coffey said there were no plans to ban wood-burning stoves or open fires.
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ClientEarth, which has won pollution court cases against the government, said more enforcement was good but only a small measure, and that domestic burning needed to be phased out.
Andrea Lee, from the charity, said: “Pollution from wood-burning is a growing source of fine particulate matter pollution in some areas, which is a serious threat to people’s health.”
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