Today’s government announcement of a broader attack on UK emissions is good news for the car industry.
Not because pressure has suddenly been reduced on the automotive sector (quite the opposite is true, due to the upcoming WLTP emissions standard). No, it’s because a wider-reaching New Clean Air Strategy, proposed by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) secretary Michael Gove, is evidence of policy that's attempting to reduce emissions effectively rather than provide the Government with a punchbag — mostly the car industry — with which to demonstrate that it is doing something.
In recent months, the car industry has bore the brunt of increasingly stringent emissions limits, brought into force in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal. But this has left several other sectors out of the spotlight. The inclusion of wood-burning stoves in Gove's new plan is good, then. Did you know that emissions of PM2.5 – an extremely harmful fine particulate matter produced from burning – are more than twice as high from stoves than road transport in Britain? Defra's website says that “there is understood to be no safe threshold below which no adverse effects would be anticipated”, yet these stoves have been quietly contributing 38% of the UK's emissions of PM2.5, clogging up our air and invading lungs and bloodstreams with little hindrance.