Lobby group calls for action on polluting wood-burning stoves

The government should discourage the use of wood-burning stoves in the Netherlands because of the impact on health and air quality, a group made up of local councils, research institutes and local health councils said on Tuesday.

The wood smoke and health platform has been researching the effect of stoves for the past 2.5 years and says action is needed to reduce the impact.

‘Over 10% of the population consider wood smoke to be a problem,’ chairman Job Cohen said. ‘In particular, it can be a major issue for people with asthma. They did not ask to live next door to people who use wood-burning stoves for heating.

The use of wood-burning stoves is not currently regulated in the Netherlands and has been encouraged as an alternative energy source now gas is being phased out. In addition, they are cheaper to run than traditional gas boilers which are subject to high energy taxes.

The government also subsidises the installation of wood pellet and biomass stoves for heating.

The platform says the government should draw up legal guidelines for the use of wood-burning stoves so that action can be taken if they become an unacceptable nuisance.

However, some organisations, such as environmental group Milieudefensie and Amsterdam city council want a total ban, broadcaster RTL said.

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