Around 38 per cent of particulate matter emissions in the UK come from burning wood and coal in the home, a major contributor to air pollution. (Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images).

Some of the UK’s leading retailers are taking major steps to encourage their customers to buy cleaner fuels to heat their homes and reduce the impact on their health and the environment.

Around 38 per cent of particulate matter emissions in the UK come from burning wood and coal in the home, a major contributor to air pollution.

But it is possible to reduce emissions significantly by burning drier, cleaner, more efficient products. Retailers including ASDA and B&Q have been encouraging and incentivising customers to purchase ‘Ready to Burn’ wood and ‘smokeless’ products.

More than 50 companies are now signed up to the ‘Ready to Burn’ scheme and firewood and briquettes with the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn’ logo are available from local stove stores through to large outlets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, B&Q and Wickes.

Following the launch of the ambitious ‘clean air strategy,’ the government held a consultation on proposals to phase out the most polluting fuels. This closed last week and the government will be analysing the responses and announcing next steps in due course.

“…I encourage all stores to follow their lead, and for all users to stop using wet wood and smoky coal to reduce the amount of harmful pollution to which they unwittingly expose themselves, their families and the environment. Dried wood and smokeless coal make for a better fire both heat-wise and healthwise,” said British environment minister Thérèse Coffey.

Retailers are carrying out a wide range of actions to help consumers switch to cleaner, alternative fuels. B&Q has trained store colleagues on the benefits of cleaner fuels and more efficient stoves and heaters to help educate their customers whereas, Tesco has produced in-store advertising promoting the benefits of ‘Ready to Burn’ solid fuels and where to find them in store.

The commitments come during the first ever ‘Green GB Week,’ – celebrating the UK’s progress in tackling climate change while galvanising support for further action to protect the environment.

As well as an intention to phase out the most polluting fuels, the government’s clean air strategy sets out that only the cleanest stoves will be available for sale by 2022. Stove retailers are clear that quality fuels are an important part of ensuring that modern stoves work as efficiently as possible, helping to minimise emissions, UK government said.