The government has announced that the burning of wet wood in England is to be phased out by 2023. Whilst this will mostly affect people who use wood burning stoves, it is also likely to put an end to Leeds City Council’s practice of staging huge public bonfires on public parks every 5th November. Currently, these bonfires are put together using damp pallet wood and other waste wood. When such wood is burnt, it creates a great deal of smoke and harmful PM2.5 particulate matter. John Maingay of the British Heart Foundation said: “Wood and coal burning accounts for 40% of harmful levels of background PM2.5 in the UK, and our research has shown that toxic PM2.5 can enter the bloodstream and damage our heart and circulatory system. Phasing out sales of coal and wet wood is a vital first step towards protecting the nation’s health from toxic air … however, we must not stop there. Air pollution is a major public health challenge, and it requires an urgent and bold response.”
The details of the government’s plans are contained in this Guardian article.