Oxford City Council launches campaign to tackle woodburning emissions

The ‘Do You Fuel Good?’ campaign aims to educate locals about the impacts of wood burning stoves and fireplaces on human health and the environment.  

Oxford City Council will highlight how 66% of local fine particulate matter (PM2.5) comes from domestic heating, including gas heating, cookers and solid fuel stoves, while just 21% comes from transport. 

Residents will also be informed about the health impacts of woodburning, as it can be harmful to children and the elderly, leading to conditions such as asthma and emphysema.  

5.52% of all deaths in Oxford in people aged over 30 are due to long-term exposure to PM2.5, according to the council.  

black fireplace near couch

‘Many people are aware of the health impacts of outdoor air pollution; however, it is equally as important to consider indoor pollution which may be impacting your health and those around you,’ said Cllr Imogen Thomas, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Climate Justice. ‘For people who have heating options, we want to encourage them to think of other ways to make the home cosy. For people with no other choice but to use a wood burner, we want to ensure they are doing so safely and are using the right fuels. I encourage you to visit the Fuel Good webpages.’ 

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) has reported a 40% increase in wood burning stove sales compared to the same time last year.  

As energy prices soar, households are turning to woodburning as a cheaper heating method, but research has shown domestic woodburning can triple the effect of harmful pollution particles inside the home.  

£45,000 of funding for the campaign has come from the government’s Air Quality Grant to raise awareness of particulate matter and the project will be run in partnership with Oxford Friends of the Earth and the Canal & River Trust.  

The city also has 23 active smoke control areas, where it is an offence to emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney, furnace of fixed boiler. 

The council’s 2021-2025 air quality action plan recognises the issues with woodburning and sets out measures to lower wood smoke emissions.  

Photo by Annie Spratt


Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

If 66% comes from domestic heating in Oxford, how do our other cities compare? Instead of lowering wood smoke emissions, perhaps they should ban stoves in the city altogether? No one’s likely to be off-grid there. We are still waiting for health warnings on all new stoves and for chimney sweeps to issue, by law, certificates showing ‘low emissions’.Where stove emissions are found to be high, they should be banned outright. Problem is, what wouldcount as low emissions and who’s going to be chekcing up on them?

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top