Poll: More than two thirds of Londoners support a ban on woodburners

More than two thirds of Londoners support a ban on woodburners – but half of Scotland are against a crackdown, poll reveals

Londoners overwhelming support banning woodburners, a new poll revealed today, but those in colder and more rural climes such as Scotland, the north-west and Yorkshire are opposed.

More than two thirds of people in London (67%) would be happy to see the stoves burning logs outlawed with just 17% opposed.

Across the UK, almost half of people asked (44%) support a woodburner ban, compared to 36% who oppose it. One in five (20%) are undecided.

Miniature schnauzers George and Ringo dry off in front of the stove at home in Emsworth, Hampshire. A new poll has found that the majority of the UK would ban woodburners – especially in London

The new poll, conducted by Omnisis for The Guardian, found that seven of the 11 regions surveyed agreed with restrictions on burning wood in the future. Support for a ban was highest in London.

But the strongest opposition was in Scotland, where 49% were against any restrictions and 34% in favour. There was also opposition in Wales, the north-west and Yorkshire and Humberside. 

How to get the most out of your wood-burner: Owners share their best tips, from using a fan to cooking pizza, potatoes and Wagyu beef on it 


Less than one in ten houses burn solid fuel like wood and coal in Britain. Emissions of the pollutant PM2.5 from domestic wood burning alone increased 124 per cent between 2011 and 2021. PM2.5 is considered by health experts as the most dangerous form of air pollution.

Sir Chris Whitty, the Government’s chief medical officer, recently said: ‘There’s a big difference in my view between having a very dense urban area with everybody using wood burning and someone doing it in a rural area where it is essentially them, their family and a lot of sheep.’

Surging energy bills have led to a surge in sales of woodburning stoves, according to manufacturers.

The Stove Industry Alliance, which represents the industry, said sales leapt 40 per cent last year.

The SIA said the trend ‘clearly indicates that consumers are taking action to help cushion themselves against spiralling home heating bills’.

The group whose members account for approximately 75 per cent of total UK stove sales, said sales for the second quarter of 2022 (April to June) hit over 35,000 units, compared to just over 25,000 for the same quarter of 2021.

Chair of the SIA, Andy Hill, said: ‘With the cost for heating our homes accounting for the biggest chunk of home energy bills this winter, it is little wonder consumers are looking for alternatives to supplement their gas or electric heating.

‘Couple that with growing awareness of how stretched the grid is and the increased possibility of more power cuts this winter, the option to use a highly efficient, low carbon and low emission wood burning stove to heat your main living space makes good (common) sense.’ The SIA say that newer stoves are 90 per cent less polluting than an open fire.

But the rise in woodburning could result in greater pollution, experts warn.

Government data show that woodburning stoves emit more particulate pollution, the most deadly form of pollution, than road transport.

Around 17 per cent of particulate pollution comes from burning wood, compared to 13 per cent from road transport.

Professor Gary Fuller at Imperial College London told New Scientist at the time: ‘It is important that vulnerable people are helped to keep warm this winter, but extra wood burning is not the answer. It will worsen the existing air pollution problems in our cities, towns and even across the countryside in the UK and Europe.’

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