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Burning wood and coal in people’s homes will come under scrutiny as part of a government drive to improve air pollution. Ministers are calling for evidence to help improve air quality in cities. They want people to ensure that wood is dry before burning, and that solid fuels are as clean as possible. But the UK is being given a final warning by the European Commission today for breaching laws on NOx emissions. The government is being told it will face court action in Europe unless its planned Clean Air Strategy does what it’s supposed to.

While environmentalists may wonder whether today’s announcement on homes fires is a smokescreen, the government insists it’s not. It says the domestic burning of house coal, smokeless solid fuels and wet wood is the single largest primary contributor of harmful sooty particles. Householders and businesses are being asked for their views on proposals to cut emissions.

The government says drying wood can reduce particles by half and produce more heat from less fuel.

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