Green charity, Environmental Protection UK (EPUK), is warning that the Coalition Government’s recently announced renewable heat incentive (RHI) could lead to increasing air pollution, especially in urban areas.
The RHI will offer businesses and households incentive payments to use renewable heat including biomass systems such as wood-fired boilers.
However, EPUK cautions that biomass heating systems can release high levels of air pollutants when fuel is burnt, presenting a potential health risk in built-up areas.
According to figures from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, pollutants released by biomass heating systems, similar to those from vehicles, could contribute to up to 200,000 premature deaths a year.
EPUK wants to see a location-based approach to renewable heat, with local authorities having a greater say in what types of system can be installed to ensure that pollution levels and potential health risks are minimised.
“The RHI highlights the need for a rethink on the Government’s microgeneration strategy,” says EPUK chair James Grugeon. “It’s a step in the right direction, but this broad-brush approach to installing renewables shows there is a lack of understanding about the local health impacts they can have and also where they work best.”
For further information:
UK government sets out case for renewable heat incentive (11-Mar)
Warm response to UK government’s renewable heat incentive (11-Mar)
17 March 2011