Businesses asked to raise awareness of borough’s home fire rules

Release Date: 19 December 2017

Businesses in the borough that sell fuel for coal fires or wood burning appliances are being asked to make sure that customers understand the rules around domestic fires.

In a bid to combat rising air pollution levels in London, businesses in the borough, including hardware shops, petrol stations and supermarkets are being asked to talk to their customers and display promotional materials reminding them that the borough is in a Smoke Control Area.

In late January 2017, air pollution in London peaked, with experts at King’s College London claiming that pollution was the worst since April 2011. One of the main contributors was the extra cold weather, combined with ‘traffic pollution and air pollution from wood burning.’ We need to avoid the same thing happening again this winter.

For many years Richmond, has been a Smoke Control Area.

People living in the borough, who have real fires at home, or wood burners for heating, must use authorised fuel. This means, fuels which have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning without producing smoke. People are only allowed to use unauthorised fuel in ‘approved’ appliances that have been adapted to remove smoke. You can check if your fuel is authorised or your appliance is exempt on the DEFRA website.

As part of a campaign to ensure that residents are familiar with the rules around domestic fires, before they purchase an appliance or fuel, Richmond Council has written to businesses to ask them to advise their customers about the regulations around wood burning appliances.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Cabinet Member for the Environment, Business and Community said:

“We all have the right to breathe clean air. However, across London we are breaching legal pollution limits.

“Many households in the borough have real fires or wood burning stoves. However, not all of these people are aware that there are restrictions in place on what they are allowed to burn.

“We have written to businesses to ask for their help by talk to their customers about the rules and making sure they don’t sell fuel to people inappropriately. We are also asking them to display posters, encouraging people to check before they buy.”

For more information visit the DEFRA website or by contact the Council’s Air Quality Team on 020 8891 7729.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P586/17

Updated: 29 December 2017