Government Declares War on Grandma's Coal Fire

By Gary Cutlack on at

There's something you need to know about coal before reading this in your gas-heated ivory bedsit. There are types of coal, like there are these little egg-shaped lumps of uniform coal that have been processed and, somehow, are allowed to be described as "smokeless" types because they burn cleaner. They're fine. They're safe and you can set them on fire all you like, as long as you do it on something metal and not on the carpet. What's about to be banned is the wrong type of coal.

This is the raw, literally-a-rock type of coal known as house coal. It's dirtier and dustier, and produces more smoke, hence it's being demonised in the government's forthcoming Clean Air Strategy set of law changes, with a consultation now open to ask for our feelings about looming stricter rules for people who burn stuff in their houses to keep warm in the winter.

It's to stop the flow of particulate matter — the new health demon — into the air, with regular coal and unseasoned wood on home fires apparently the biggest contributor to low air quality in urban spots. Banning the sale of regular coal, only allowing efficient woodburners to be installed and limiting the sale of small quantities of unseasoned firewood are the main points the consultation thinks we should be preparing for. [GOV]

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