A friend sent me this - I haven't located the paper yet
"the following was a Q & A in the Sunday paper, thought it may be of help?
My neighbour has built a workshop in his garden, with planning approval from
the District Council. It has a wood-buring stove with a flue that emits
smoke, which I have read could contain carcinogens. Is there anything I can
Much depends on whether you are living in a smoke-control area. If so, it
is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 for your neighbour to emit smoke
from a chimney, whether domestic or commercial, unless he is burning an
'authorised fuel' or using an 'exempt appliance' - one that produces very
little or no smoke. Visit smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk for further
information. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the smoke might
also be a statutory nuisance. In either case, consult your Local Authority
Environment Department. You could take action under the 1990 Act or common
If you are not in a smoke-control area, your situation is covered only by
the 1990 Act - but, again, the local authority should assist you. If you
wish to take proceddings yourself, you should consult a solicitor.
My first reaction was this was a red herring, assuming the stove was
included in the plans.
The statutory nuisance regulation IIRC are intended to cover stuff like
bonfires on washing days etc.
However a quick Google to see if I could locate the newspaper article turned
up stuff like
"■Although wood smoke conjures up fond memories of sitting by a cozy fire,
it is important to know that the components of wood smoke and cigarette
smoke are quite similar, and that many components of both are carcinogenic.
Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde,
sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can
scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be
carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin.
■Wood smoke interferes with normal lung development in infants and children.
It also increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as
bronchitis and pneumonia.
■Wood smoke exposure can depress the immune system and damage the layer of
cells in the lungs that protect and cleanse the airways.
■According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic air
pollutants are components of wood smoke. Wood smoke can cause coughs,
headaches, eye, and throat irritation in otherwise healthy people.
■For vulnerable populations, such as people with asthma, chronic respiratory
disease and those with cardiovascular disease, wood smoke is particularly
harmful— even short exposures can prove dangerous.
■The particles of wood smoke are extremely small and therefore are not
filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. Instead, these
small particles end up deep in the lungs where they remain for months,
causing structural damage and chemical changes. Wood smoke’s carcinogenic
chemicals adhere to these tiny particles, which enter deep into the lungs.
■Recent studies show that fine particles that go deep into the lungs
increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. EPA warns that for people
with heart disease, short- term exposures have been linked to heart attacks
and arrhythmias. If you have heart disease, these tiny particles may cause
you to experience chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and
and loads of other stuff mainly from the US.
Assuming that wood burning is more prevalent in the US as opposed to coal
burning and thus is top of the problems list, I presume that similar issues
may arise from burning coal (although the particulate size may make a
Certainly this still raises a question about 'green' heating by harvesting
However in this particular complaint the carcinogen issue is still a red
herring until action is taken to ban all fires and stoves which burn
wood/peat/coal etc. and do not have a particllate filter.
Up until now I hand't thought of my 'fake coal' gas fire as being
particularly environmentally friendly compared to a wood burner.