The use of coal for domestic heating purposes dates back thousands of years to China, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it was being used after about 3490 BCE. In the UK, it started to be commonly used to heat homes from the first half of the 14th century.
And the knowledge that burning it can be bad for our health as well as the environment is also nothing new. In 1306, King Edward I attempted to ban the burning of sea coal in London, with severe punishments for those who transgressed. His son and successor King Edward II went even further, explicitly stating that those who did so should be tortured.
Despite that, the use of coal continued and grew, reaching its peak during the years of the Industrial Revolution. As a result, the air quality in our cities got progressively worse, until things came to a head with the Great Smog of 1952, during which thousands of people died in the pollution that enveloped London.
Since then, we have had a number of Clean Air Acts that have created smoke free areas where only smokeless fuels could be burned. Now, the final step is being taken on this long journey with the complete ban on the sale of traditional house coal in England from 1 May 2023.
Why is the sale of house coal being banned?
The burning of house coal – and wet wood, the sale of which is also being banned – produces particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate into our lungs and blood causing serious health issues. Coal fires and wood burning stoves are believed to be the biggest source of PM2.5, discharging three times as much of it into our environment as road transport manages.
The ban is just one of the many means by which the government is trying to reduce the effects of such pollutants on our health, the environment and the climate.
What happens next?
Since the ban was announced in February 2020, the industry has been given time to adjust, so that the sales of house coal have been phased out ahead of the complete ban in May.
That has meant that sellers have been required to provide customers with advice on the best alternatives for their particular application. Thankfully, these days there is a fantastic range of smokeless alternatives that not only don’t pollute the air, but they also usually provide better results than traditional house coal ever could. That includes benefits such as a cleaner and longer burn, more consistent heat output and – best of all! – much better value for money.
All you need to do when buying your smokeless fuel is to make sure that it has been certified Ready to Burn.
For all your smokeless and winter fuel needs, KG Smith is a leading provider of domestic heating solutions that includes great deals on environmentally-friendly products such as smokeless coal, heat logs, wood briquettes and kiln-dried and sun-dried firewood. We deliver nationwide, with free and fast delivery options always available.
Place your smokeless fuel order online now, or get in touch with the team at KG Smith & Son to discover the best alternative to traditional house coal for your own boiler or stove.