The government has published its Clean Air Strategy 2019 and the media yesterday was awash with the news of how Michael ‘Blue Planet 2’ Gove is going to ban the worst polluting log burning stoves in 2022, after his pioneering plastic straw and plastic bag bans have been so spectacularly successful in protecting the environment.
Here is what the Telegraph says:
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has announced a crackdown on emissions from the home as part of a wider push to reduce people’s exposure to particulate matter which is considered the most damaging pollutant.
The proposals, outlined in the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, include plans to outlaw the sale of the most polluting fuels and to ensure only the cleanest stoves are sold by 2022.
A recent surge in popularity means domestic burning on stoves and open fires is now the single biggest source of particulate matter emissions.
Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, said “strong, urgent action” is needed to reduce harmful emissions and improve the air we breath.
“The evidence is clear,” he said. “While air quality has improved significantly in recent years, air pollution continues to shorten lives, harm our children and reduce quality of life.
Wood- and coal-burning stoves currently account for 38 per cent of particulate matter air pollution, which the Government plans to reduce 30 per cent in total by 2030.
This 38% figure triggered my bullshit alarm. I decided that I would investigate its origin. It is quoted in the government report I linked to above:
Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity over recent years. They are now an additional form of heating for many households in both urban and rural areas; for a minority they may be the sole heat source. In addition, we have seen the growth of biomass boilers for home heating. This increase in burning solid fuels in our homes is having an impact on our air quality and now makes up the single largest contributor to our national PM emissions at 38%.
I went to the reference they provided for this figure of 38%, the Defra ‘Air Pollutant Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland: 1990-2016’, but couldn’t find it amongst the masses of data there. I did find the summary data in nice table form here though. In the summary for the UK right at the bottom, it lists the figures for 2016 for PM10.0 and PM2.5 particulate pollution from various sources, and, lo and behold, the figure of 38.3% pops out nicely if you do the calculations for one source in particular. But that source is Residential, Commercial & Public Sector Combustion. So Gove and his compliant government propaganda media machine would have you believe that we are all going to die horribly because of the increased use of open fires/woodburning stoves or, as reported by some media outlets, just because of the increasing popularity of wood-burning stoves. The truth is very different. Residential domestic burning forms only a small part of the contribution to particulate matter pollution, and that mainly from open fires burning wood and coal and/or old, inefficient stoves burning solid fuels. The truth is that an efficient, modern stove burning dry wood produces very little smoke and lots of heat, enough not to rely at all upon oil-fired central heating during winter. I know. I had one.
But this isn’t the half of it. The scam goes deeper even than this. Gove admits that air pollution “has improved significantly in recent years”. What he doesn’t tell you is that, according to his government’s own figures, particulate matter pollution has declined drastically since 1970. Emissions of PM10 in 2016 have fallen by 73 per cent since 1970, to 170 thousand tonnes. Emissions of PM2.5 in 2016 have fallen by 78 per cent since 1970, to 108 thousand tonnes. Not only that, emissions are still falling:
PM10 emissions decreased by 1.9 per cent from 2015 to 2016. PM2.5 emissions decreased by 3.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016. The trend for both pollutants has been fairly static in recent years, but PM2.5 emissions in 2016 reached their lowest level in the time series.
Thus, most evidently, government alarm about the increase in particulate matter pollution due to the new found popularity of heating one’s home via renewable-energy-tax-avoiding, highly efficient wood burning stoves is, to coin a vulgar phrase, complete and utter bollocks. The “air pollution crisis” is, similarly, complete and utter bollocks, likewise the figures being bandied around concerning deaths attributable to air pollution similarly so, based as they are upon unsound so called ‘scientific’ research.
I’m not quite finished exposing this ‘domestic wood-burning air pollution’ scam yet. There’s one other thing. The government would have you believe that this ‘environmental protection’ initiative is its own, but it’s not, it comes from the EU, specifically the EU Eco Design Directive. But, but . . . . aren’t we supposed to be leaving the EU in March 2019? Why is the government proposing to ban the sale of wood burning stoves which don’t conform to EU regulations in 2022? Note, this won’t apply just to stoves manufactured in the EU and sold in Britain, which will have to comply with this standard, it will apply to all stoves on sale in the UK, regardless of their country of origin. Once again, the EU will be telling the British public what they can and can’t buy, which appliances they can and can’t use, according to their whimsical notions of what is ‘environmentally friendly’. When we voted to Leave, we expected not to have to endure any further EU meddling in our domestic market, especially EU legislative bureaucracy driven by EU green, ideological, eco-fanatical, ideological nonsense. But Gove, whose brain is infected by green maggots gnawing away at his neurones, severing logical connections, is all for it, just as he is all for not leaving the EU, ‘Brexiteer’ fraud that he is.