In a new report, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) concludes that homeowners are putting themselves at significant risk through the domestic burning of wet wood and non-smokeless coal.
According to the findings, domestic sources are the largest single contributor to PM2.5, one of the most harmful forms of particulate matter (collectively known as PMx). At 40% of total emissions of PM2.5, it is more than double that of industrial combustion (14%) and more than three times that of road transport (12%).
The report states: “It should be possible to reduce domestic emissions to as close to zero as possible. However, the UK market for low carbon heating systems is currently very immature because successive governments have been dragging their feet on promoting alternative heating technologies”
Though the government’s recent strategies and policy changes have recognised the importance of tackling emissions beyond industrial and transport, the IPPR believes that they focus too much on illegal and lethal emissions, ignoring emissions from sources that are currently legal but effectively poisoning the population, such as wet wood and non-smokeless coal.
In terms of solutions, the report recommends that, in the short-term, the government must ban the sale of wet wood and non-smokeless coal by 2020. In the long-term, alternative heating systems must be promoted, to ensure the ambition to all but eliminate domestic PMx is realised.
You can find the full report on the IPPR website here.