Who wood have thought that

Wood you believe it

Yes…. many urban areas in UK have banned wood burners, and coal fires only allowed to use smokeless fuels.

I would sadly. I stopped using ours around three years ago.

So glad I don’t live in an urban area… my woodburner keeps me alive when all other forms of heating fail…


Same risk indoors sadly Stella! But because we are more spaced it is not as noticeable outdoors……

It’s worth being aware of the effect geography has on pollution. Athens is sat on a plain surrounded by mountains with a flat area leading off to Piraeus, and is well known for trapping pollution close to the city. In these circumstances if the city was part of the UK then it’s likely stringent anti-pollution measures would have been introduced (as we see in many UK cities) to control this effect.

That’s not to take away from the hazardous effects of wood burning, but if done in places where pollution is not trapped and the population (and therefore the output of particles) is not dense, then wood burning is far less likely to cause problems.

Thankfully we have plenty of fresh air within the building and a good woodburner, so I think the risks are at an acceptable level.

This is a bit like the petrol vs. diesel debate. Diesel produces more ‘pollution’ in terms of particulates and the health of those in the immediate vicinity - but petrol contributes more to climate change - which is ultimately a greater danger to everybody.

Sensibly sourced, seasoned and burnt wood is probably the best source of heat we have apart from electricity from renewable sources, because it is in the current carbon cycle - certainly in the UK, where the main alternatives are fossil fuel (or electricity made from fossil fuel), the ‘pollution’ of woodburners is almost certainly preferable to that of the alternatives.


As noted above @Ancient_Mariner the original study was in metropolitan Athens, whose location and topography make its summer and winter air quality worse than most other European capitals. Incidentally, this is one reason why despite London’s famously poor air quality, the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum (unlike their Athenian counterparts) have retained their facial features,

The article states that ‘Based on WHO data, the PAHs in Athens would be expected to cause 5 extra cancer cases for every 100,000 people’; however, the researchers only ascribed half (49%) of the Athenian PAH to woodburning, which of course includes the open fires that are common in many Greek households. Also, while these theoretical five cases are theoretically very sad, they’re described as ‘cases’, not 'deaths.

Like many other rural dwelling SF readers, we burn well-seasoned, very locally sourced hardwood in a modern woodburner. We purchase it from people whose families have managed the surrounding forests for many centuries and we aren’t going to beat ourselves up about using it as our principal heat source.


Also, firewood - hereabouts at least - is actually just a byproduct of the main forestry industry, and if we didn’t buy it, it could well end up being burnt on site anyway.

1 Like

I have friends who are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

They live on the periphery of one of London’s biggest, busiest roundabouts, trying to hide behind the bushes to the left of ‘Jazz’s Barbers’ at the top [north]. The roundabout is 6 lanes all round.

They also have a wood burning stove. The wood is sourced from my friend’s one-man-and a gang tree-fettling business, so unlikely to be well seasoned.