Reducing pollution from wood burners and open fires in Bedford Borough homes

pieces of wood, surrounded by flames as it burns

Open fires and wood-burning or multi-fuel stoves have risen in popularity over recent years. There are many benefits for users but burning at home contributes to a type of pollutant called fine particulate matter. This is present in smoke and the tiny particles can harm the health of people that breath it in.

Some simple measures can be taken to lower any negative impacts of home burning. These can reduce pollution released inside people’s homes and to the wider environment. They can also lead to lower costs, by using less fuel, and reduce the risk of chimney fires.

  • Burn dry wood - Wet or damp wood creates smoke and increases harmful particulates when burned. This can damage stoves and chimneys. It also means less heat is created to warm the home
  • Use approved solid fuels – See the link below for a Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) guide
  • Do not burn treated waste wood such as pallets, fence panels etc. - These can create other harmful fumes and toxic pollutants in your home and from your chimney as they burn
  • Regularly maintain and service your stove – During use soot and tar can build up, reducing performance.

Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said, “We all breathe the same air, with the rise in popularity of open fires and wood-burning stoves in homes it is important that people can easily find information that helps them to use them safely.

 “These measures can also help Bedford Borough residents save money, reduce the risks of fires in homes and lower their impact on the environment.”

People who are already using an open fire or wood-burning stove at home, or anyone considering installing one, will need to understand which fuels and stoves can be used. This information, along with other relevant regulations, can be found at

Find a practical guide to Open Fires and Wood-burning stoves at   

Image credit; István Asztalos from Pixabay