SMOKE: Cut down on wood stoves

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The council has created 61 smoke control areas that cover the majority of North Tyneside.

It is an offence to create smoke from a chimney, except during lighting-up.

Yet when walking round Whitley Lodge estate at night almost every street has at least one chimney emitting smoke, which catches in the throat.

It is part of the Government’s 25-year plan to improve air quality, which will almost certainly focus on wood burners and fires, not least because Michael Gove says they account for 38 per cent of damaging particulate matter in the UK.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already asked for powers to curb their use and other councils are understood to be looking at them.

Researchers found that wood burning stoves emit tiny particles, known as PM2.5, which is the most harmful type of air pollution and is linked to heart attacks, strokes, cancer and dementia.

Even a government approved ‘eco-friendly’ stove emits pollution at the same rate as 25 10-year-old diesel lorries. Since road transport accounts for 12 per cent of particular emissions, why is this given priority over stoves?

Dr Gary Fuller, a leading pollution scientist, said action must take place urgently to cut down on the craze as ‘lives are at risk’. He warned that wood-burning fires can produce about six times more particle pollution than a modern diesel lorry, or 18 times more than a diesel car.

So what is North Tyneside Council doing about this hazardous pollution?

Mike Coates

Whitley Bay