Published on 19th December 2023

Clean Air Night image of clear blue skies and with the campaign logo

With the colder weather setting in, many people will be lighting fires in their homes to keep warm. But wood burning produces damaging air pollution which can harm your health and the planet.

To raise awareness, the council is taking part in Clean Air Night, a new sister campaign for Clean Air Day, that focuses on the uncomfortable truths of wood burning. As part of the campaign, tips and information explaining how wood can harm your health, the planet and your wallet will be shared across the council’s social media channels.

Pressures on household finances or a desire to be more eco-friendly may tempt people to burn wood. But research shows that wood burning produces even more CO2 than oil or gas in the short-term and is almost always more expensive than other forms of heating.

Hannah Leatherland, air quality education officer, said, “Up to now, it’s been easy to associate the glow of a fire or wood burner with comfort. It’s really important people understand the cost that wood burning can have to their health, the health of their communities around them, and their wallet.

“Lighting fires in our homes is the largest source of harmful small particle air pollution (particulate matter) in the UK. This type of air pollution can cause life-threatening illnesses, including heart and lung disease, so it is crucial that we raise awareness of this issue.”

Cllr Martin Horwood, cabinet member for customer and regulatory services, continued, “We all have a duty to keep our air clean and protect our own and our neighbours’ health.

“I’m delighted we’re supporting Clean Air Night and emphasising what we can all do by avoiding wood burning which adds small particle pollution to our air and carbon to our atmosphere. Keep Christmas cosy but clean!”

For people with a stove or open fire, guidance is available from DEFRA in a handy guide; the guide includes information on actions that can be taken to reduce environmental and health impacts caused by wood burning.

Clean Air Night is taking place on 24 January 2024; join in and find out more about wood burning and help protect yourself, your family and your community by sharing what you’ve learned.

Follow the council for tips and resources about wood burning on Facebook @cheltbc, X (Twitter) @CheltenhamBC and Instagram @CheltenhamBC.

For media enquiries, contact: communications, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected].