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What can I do?


Air pollution is a big health issue, but there are things that we can all do to make ourselves, our family and others safer.


Even small reductions in air pollution could help us to avoid new cases of disease. Here are our top actions:

  • Walk, cycle and scoot more, especially using the back streets away from polluting traffic.
  • Avoid unnecessary burning at home (e.g. in a stove or open fire) unless it is your only source of heat.
  • If you rely on wood for your heating, use 'ready to burn' materials (e.g. dry wood or approved manufactured solid fuels), and try to ensure that your appliance is eco-design accredited.
  • If you do have to drive, switch your engine off when you're stationary, and try to choose electric vehicles where you can.


Follow the links below for even more information and more ideas for actions that you can take at home and when out and about.

A line illustration of a person holding a bag of ready to burn fuel, standing next to a pile of logs

Burning at home


  • If you have alternative heating options, avoid burning solid fuels
  • When possible avoid using open fires that burn solid fuels, or free standing gas heaters.
  • Sales of wood and coal have been regulated since May 1 2021. If you need to burn wood (for heating for example)
    • Look for the "ready to burn" label on wood and logs in the shops so that you know they have been dried (also known as 'seasoned'), so will burn efficiently and with less pollution.
    • Do not burn wood offcuts that have been treated or painted as this can give off lots of pollution. It is illegal to burn treated waste wood.
    • Do not use unflued paraffin or kerosene heaters that are not vented to the outside (e.g. portable appliances and /or those without a pipe or chimney).


Please note that burning household waste is an offence if it causes pollution or harms people's health. Examples of household waste include old furniture, building materials or household items that might otherwise be taken to a waste and recycling centre.


Avoid burning garden waste whenever possible, as it produces smoke - especially if that waste is green or damp. Smoke emissions can exacerbate respiratory problems. Look to compost garden waste instead.


A practical guide on open fires and wood-burning stoves can be accessed here. 

If you would like to find out more about where all the stats, facts and figures have come from, see our references page