Is your wood stove choking you? How indoor fires are suffocating cities

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A wood stove emits more harmful air particulates than a diesel truck. Does their newfound popularity in cities threaten to wipe out progress in reducing air pollution?

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Emma Meaden loves to sit in her north-west London flat, her dogs napping at her feet, watching the flames dance in her new wood stove. When she first moved in, she lit a few fires in the old-fashioned fireplace – but it was a poor way to heat her sitting room and she was intrigued by the stoves she’d seen at friends’ homes in the country. Along with the savings on heating and the ambiance, Meaden liked the idea that wood was a renewable fuel – one that, she supposed, would shrink her carbon footprint. “I’m always trying to do the right thing,” she says.

Like Meaden, many Britons have embraced the cosy, hearth-and-home feeling of burning wood. The government has helped propagate the notion of wood as a renewable fuel that saves money and the environment alike – an image that stove manufacturers have happily seized upon for their marketing campaigns.

Yet another stupid decision – in the same way they myopically pursued diesel, they have...

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