THEY have become a feature of many homes.

Install a wood burning stove and you immediately enhance the appeal of your property creating that cosy, comforting ambiance.

Of course, wood burners aren’t just about interior design, their practical purpose is to heat the home and their growth in popularity is evident in the number of homeowners clamouring to have them installed.

However, just as diesel cars have been put under the spotlight when it comes to clamping down on pollution in our towns and cities, concerns of burning wood and coal to heat the home have now been raised in a new Clean Air Strategy launched by Environment secretary, Michael Gove.

Burning wood and coal to heat the home contributes 38 per cent of UK emissions of damaging particulate matter.

Cleaner fuels and stoves produce less smoke, less soot and more heat therefore, in future, only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale.

Baildon chimney sweep, Gerry Hardaker who runs Hardaker’s Chimney Sweep Services, says after reading about the new Clean Air Strategy he doesn’t think it will be retrospective so those who already have wood burning stoves won’t have to remove them from their homes.

“I think the biggest concern is because in London it is such a concentrated area they are having problems with smog, but I think what they will do is control the fuel you burn,” says Gerry.

It is doubtful this latest news will have a significant impact on sales, but it may prompt homeowners who are contemplating installing a stove to carefully consider the detail.

Certainly, potential purchasers don’t appear to be put off at present. Phil Pickard at Medusa Stoves Limited in Baildon has seen demand for wood burning stoves increase over the past decade.

“In the last 10 years they have become really popular. I think it is a trend thing - people hire these cottages or go to the Lakes and they always like a wood burner, it is a nice homely thing,” says Phil.

Commenting on the new Clean Air Strategy, Phil says as long as the stoves are compliant and are up to regulations there shouldn’t be an issue.

“They want people to clean up their act basically,” says Phil.

Environment secretary, Michael Gove, says: “Government cannot act alone in tackling air pollution. Our strategy sets out how we will work with businesses, farmers, industry and households to develop innovative new solutions to reduce emissions. It also highlights how we can all take action and play an important role in cleaning up our air.”

Air pollution is the fourth biggest threat to public health after cancer, obesity and heart disease and the new Government strategy sets out how we will go further and faster than the EU in reducing human exposure to particular matter pollution.

These proposals are in addition to the Government’s £3.5 billion plan to reduce air pollution from road transport and diesel vehicles set out in July last year.

It is estimated that the action set out will reduce the costs of air pollution to society by an estimated £1 billion every year by 2020, rising to £2.5 billion every year from 2030.

The new strategy, which is now out for consultation, is a key part of the 25 Year Plan to leave the environment in a better state.

During a visit to meet air quality researchers at Imperial College, Mr Gove said: “Air quality has improved significantly since 2010 but sixty years on from the historic Clean Air Act a clear truth remains - air pollution is making people ill, shortening lives and damaging our economy and environment.

“This is why we are launching this clean air strategy, backed up with new primary legislation. It sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of government to improve air quality.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We welcome the Government’s intention to tackle the poor air quality that occurs in areas of the UK and we also welcome the fact that the strategy has recognised that there are sources other than vehicle emissions that cause this.

“Officers from this Council are members of the air quality advisory group that has assisted with the development of the strategy, particularly around the issues of domestic wood burning and the renewable heat incentives.

“We intend to fully examine the details of the strategy and will be submitting a consultation response in due course.”