The government has announced plans to phase out the sale of the most polluting fuels burned in household stoves and open fires from next year.

House coal and wet wood will be gradually phased out in England as part of efforts to reduce tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can effect the lungs and blood, causing serious health problems.

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of PM2.5, contributing three times as much of the pollution as road transport, the Environment Department (Defra) said.

House coal and wet wood will be gradually phased out as part of efforts to reduce tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5. Credit: PA

Sales of wet wood and house coal will be phased out from 2021 to 2023, giving householders and suppliers the chance to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels.

Dry wood and manufactured solid fuels produce less smoke and pollution and are cheaper and more efficient to burn, according to officials.

Sales of wet wood and house coal will be phased out from 2021 to 2023. Credit: PA

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "Cosy open fires and wood-burning stoves are at the heart of many homes up and down the country, but the use of certain fuels means that they are also the biggest source of the most harmful pollutant that is affecting people in the UK.

“By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as dry wood we can all play a part in improving the health of millions of people.

House coal will be phased out by 2023. Credit: AP

“This is the latest step in delivering on the challenge we set ourselves in our world-leading clean air strategy.

“We will continue to be ambitious and innovative in tackling air pollution from all sources as we work towards our goal to halve the harm to human health from air pollution by 2030.”

What fuel will be phased out as part of the government's plans?

  • Sales of all bagged house coal will be phased out by February 2021.

  • The sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants will end by February 2023.

  • Sales of wet wood in units of under two cubic metres will be restricted from sale from February 2021, to allow for existing stocks to be used up.

  • Wet wood sold in larger volumes will need to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning from this date, the Government said.

  • Manufacturers of solid fuels will also need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke.