One in 10 households in the south east burns wood – the highest rate in the country – producing harmful gases and particles which have an adverse effect on air quality.
The air quality partnership Sussex Air has received £32,000 of Government funding for the project – Clean Burn Sussex – which will run across East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
It will include work to raise awareness of the health and environmental impact of burning solid fuels such as wood and coal and to encourage people to choose cleaner, more efficient fuels.
It will also assist those households whose only source of heating is wood or coal to find sources of funding where available to switch to less polluting alternatives.
Nadeem Shad, chair of Sussex Air, said: “Many people enjoy having an open fire in their home, but as attractive as that might sound, it does come at a cost.
“Wood smoke can affect the air quality of whole neighbourhoods and the emissions it produces can contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and cancer.
“People can play their part in improving our air quality by restricting the number of times they use log burners, or switching to less-polluting alternatives such as seasoned wood.
“This project will work with local authorities to promote the use of cleaner, less polluting fuels and more efficient stoves, thus encouraging people who continue to burn to do so in a less polluting way, with the aim of improving air quality across Sussex.”
The funding, awarded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
will be used to attempt to map where wood burning is taking place across Sussex and to provide information on ways to minimise pollution from their use
It is aimed at contributing towards a Government pledge to cut emissions from solid fuels by 46 per cent by 2030 including by phasing out coal and restricting the sale of wet wood, which produces more smoke.
High pollution levels can have serious effects on those with asthma and other respiratory conditions. airAlert is a free messaging service straight to people’s phone or computer, letting them know air pollution levels in their area. People can sign up at: www.airalert.info
Sussex Air is a partnership of 15 local authorities in East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove, aimed at promoting improvements in air quality across the county.
More information is available at www.sussex-air.net