The advantages of smokeless fuel for homeowners in London

A row of houses situated in London

Recent legislation is making smokeless fuel the only choice for those homes in the UK that rely on solid fuels for their open fires, stoves and boilers. The Clean Air Strategy 2019 is the latest move by governments forced to act as a result of urban air pollution caused by the burning of solid fuels, as well as other major pollutants like the car.

Although air pollution is still a major problem, things are a lot better now than they used to be. The rush to urban industrialisation, combined with rows of tightly packed houses burning coal for both warmth and cooking, created the perfect conditions for air pollution to blanket many of our cities. This would regularly manifest itself in the form of thick and poisonous fogs known as ‘pea-soupers’ (a term that was first coined in 1820 by one John Sartain, who described a London fog “as thick and as yellow as the pea-soup of the eating house”). 

The Great Smog of 1952

Even though it was known that such pollution led to large numbers of deaths, little was done until what became known as the Great Smog enclosed London between the 5th and 9th of December 1952. In some parts of the capital, daytime visibility was reduced to barely a metre, and the smog was so thick that it seeped indoors, causing concerts and film screenings to be abandoned. Estimates at the time suggested that about 4000 people died as a result, with later studies putting the figure as high as 12000.

Clean Air Act 1956

That episode led the government of the day to introduce the Clean Air Act of 1956, which among other things introduced smoke control areas where only smokeless fuels were permitted. Although there were subsequent similar events – there was another smog in 1962, but nothing like as severe as ten years earlier – the situation was significantly improved by the introduction of smokeless fuel, the increased use of central heating and further clean air legislation in 1968 and 1989. 

Clean Air Strategy 2019

Nevertheless, air pollution has continued to be an issue, perhaps best illustrated by noticeably higher levels of asthma and similar health conditions directly attributable to poor air quality. In 2019, the UK government introduced a clean air strategy that comprised a number of objectives, including:

  • Lowering the levels of nitrogen in the air
  • Banning the sale of most polluting fuels
  • Phasing out coal-fired power stations
  • Reducing ammonia emissions from farming
  • Ensuring only the ‘cleanest stoves’ are available to buy

Smokeless fuel

Given all the above, it should be clear that traditional house coal, especially in large urban areas like London, has had its day. It will be phased out over the next 12 months, and we will stop selling it from May 2023. 

Smokeless fuels started to be introduced soon after the Great Smog incident, and it was swiftly discovered that they could often not only prove an environmentally-friendly alternative, but could also make for a more efficient fuel, as they would often burn longer and hotter than house coal.

Here at KG Smith & Son, we have a large number of fantastic smokeless fuel choices on offer, including smokeless coals, anthracite, briquettes and kiln-dried wood.

Among the many benefits to be found in our range of smokeless fuels compared to traditional house coal are:

  • Less smoke
  • Less CO2
  • More heat
  • Longer lasting
  • Less ash residue
  • Easier to light

If you’re in London and are looking for a smokeless fuel for your open fire, boiler, stove or barbecue, KG Smith offers fast delivery with next-day emergency delivery also an option when needed, plus free delivery on orders of 500kg and over.

Contact the team at KG Smith & Son now to find out more or to place your order.

If you’re on the lookout for quality smokeless fuels, turn to KG Smith & Sons. We’re providers of natural anthracite in forms of grains, beans and nuts, as well as smokeless coals, so whatever your chosen product and quantity, you can count on our friendly team to have it shipped and delivered straight to your door. For more information and assistance with your order, please contact us today.



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