Millions Of Britons Could Be Plunged Into Fuel Poverty Over Coal And Wet Log Ban
Daily Express, 22 February 2020
MILLIONS of people living in rural parts of Britain will be plunged into fuel poverty when a ban on burning coal and wet logs comes into force next year, experts warned last night.
Traditional coal and wet wood fuels are to be phased out as part of plans to slash toxic particles being pumped into the air.
But the Government was told last night the move would force consumers to switch to more expensive alternatives, leaving some unable to afford to heat their homes.
Around 2.5 million households are now living in fuel poverty – where the home cannot be kept warm at a reasonable cost – at a time energy bills are soaring. Some 17,000 deaths a year are caused by cold homes.
Ian Gregory, an adviser to the fuel industry, said: “This is gesture politics of the worst type and is going to hit the rural poor the hardest. Alternatives are twice as expensive and unaffordable for many.
“Nearly 4 million people are off the gas grid in the UK, and 92 percent of our coal is imported from countries like Russia and Australia. It’s baffling as well as barmy.”
The move by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will affect around 4 million households. Environmentalists said burning coal and wet wood releases tiny pollutant particles which can lead to serious health conditions.
George Eustice, the Environment Secretary and former special adviser to David Cameron, heralded the ban as a vital step towards achieving a clean air strategy.
But cynics said it was policy to placate an increasingly vocal and mobile climate change lobby ahead of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow in November.
Around 2.5 million homes in the UK have open fires or increasingly popular wood-burning stoves which provide the only source of heat.