Cost of Living: Expert warns against burning wood fires
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On Sunday Morning, BBC Breakfast returned to screens with presenters Ben Thompson and Nina Warhurst. They welcomed Air Pollution Scientist Gary Fuller, who warned against the use of fireplaces this winter but was met with fury from viewers.
As a result of the cost of living crisis and the energy crisis, many people across the UK have turned to warming their homes with wood burners and open fires.
With this rise, the presenters spoke to Gary Fuller about the effect this will have on the environment.
Gary said: “I think it’s going to be a really tough winter for people and the choices they make to heat their homes.
“But burning solid fuel, we know is the most polluting choice available, the most polluting way to heat your home.”
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Ben asked: “Is it in the big scheme of things though, a problem, it’s a relatively small fire, they burn quite efficiently these newer wood burners rather than those open fires rather than some of those fires people might be used to in the past.
“In the big scheme of things is it an issue?”
Gary responded: “It is already an issue in the UK, we think somewhere about eight percent of UK homes are burning solid fuel, mostly wood, normally on an occasional basis.
“But that burning of solid fuel at home is producing more particle pollution in our air than all of the vehicles on the UK’s roads, so it’s a really significant issue.”
However, many viewers refused to agree with the pollution scientist and took to social media with fury.
@TrevorT18147691 tweeted: “#BBCBreakfast don’t start dictating about open fires, stoves and wood burners, it’s not an issue until you make it one.”
@cobberUK added: “Apparently we shouldn’t burn wood in case it affects Covid sufferers next door. Where does #BBCBreakfast find these?”
A third viewer @Marshmallow3UK added: “What nonsense on #BBCBreakfast.”
@AyrshireScott added: “F**k The Environment I would rather be toasty !!”
@AndyKinnaird1wrote: ”So log burners and open fires are bad for the environment! Told this after a news story about the climate meeting – all the attendees flying across the globe to get their log burner lit tonight.”
Although the BBC was met with backlash from a number of viewers, others praised the breakfast show for raising awareness about the dangers of open fires, as well as the impact it could have on the environment.
This included @fatgazbo, who stated: “Thank you @BBCBreakfast for advocating wood burners – maybe a mention about where they source wood, are they allowed to do so in some areas?”
Speaking on the dangers of log burners, Gary added: “In the report earlier there was a lot of emphasis on the difference between open fires and molten stoves.
“And yes, that is the case, I have seen a lot of data that says most molten stoves produce far less pollution than older open fires, we can see that in the data.”
Gary warned: “The real big thing not to burn is waste wood, is you burn wood that’s been painted, it may have lead paint and construction wood … often contains preservatives to stop woodworm and these often contain a lot of arsenic.”
BBC Breakfast continues daily from 6 am
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