Money to not burn: Utrecht offers grants to discourage wood fires


Utrecht local council is offering susbsidies of up to €2,000 to people willing to abandon their fireplace or trade their polluting wood burning stove for a cleaner one, in an effort to improve the city’s air quality.

‘Big polluters such as traffic and industry have been cleaning up their act in the last couple of years but pollution through smoke from wood burning has not gone down,’ health chief Eelco Eerenberg told broadcaster NOS. ‘What we would like to see is less wood burning, but if it does happen, then in the least polluting way possible’.

According to recent RIVM report wood burners and open fires account for 23% of all fine dust particle emissions in the Netherlands. Earlier calculations had put this at 10%.

This winter will most likely see an increase because of rising energy prices which have caused a run on logs.

Fine dust particles, PAHs and heavy metals, which are all present in wood smoke, cause and exacerbate heart and lung problems and can cause cancer.

Utrecht residents on a low income will be eligible for a €4,000 grant to pay for the changes. In addition a new campaign to inform people about the harmful effects of wood smoke on health and tips for using wood burners responsibly is underway.

The subsidy can be applied for until December 31, 2022.

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