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For the last 4 weeks (and the weather has not been cold) the Family has been subject to the most awful acrid smoke on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
I have discovered that one of our neighbours - about 6 doors away - has installed and is using a Wood Burner.
My wife and I can just about bear it but it is causing havoc with our young Daughter Kate's asthma.
I have spoken to the neighbour who said that it was installed and tested professionally at great expense!!
The problem is that this and I suspect many such Wood Burners have flues sticking out of ground floor extensions - our neighbours being a extension to their kitchen.
And, like a lot of properties in Crouch End, we live in a row of Terraced Houses facing another close row of Terraced houses - with another row in effect forming a U shape.
So in effect we have our own 'inversion' - trapping the low level emission of smoke - which is particularly noticeable in the first floor bedrooms. That is just like Chamonix in the Alps which now has some worst pollution levels in the world - with Wood Burning stoves being identified as a major contributor
It is ironic that the Green movement has strongly supported Wood Burners - championed by such organisations as the Muswell Hill Sustainability Group. The latter provide courses as to how to limit emissions but none of this can solve the problem of the laws of physics.
Apparentlyair pollution has been a problem in London since the 1200s , with the worst pea-souper being recorded in 1952. I was born in 1950 and I think I remember very bad fogs, though perhaps not that one.
Pollution nowadays is a much more subtle thing. The very small particulates from diesel were sufficently small to escape the notice of the eco-lobby who, at first, mistakenly backed diesel for its low carbon dioxide emissions. Many wood burners are certified by someone or other for being efficient, and emitting little waste.
Have you asked your neighbour what he is burning? A lot of wood is treated with preservative which should not be burnt. Newly felled pine is resinous and the partly burnt resin is carried in the smoke. Lighting a fire with newspaper or fire lighters causes a lot of very smelly smoke at the outset, but should clean up as the fire gets hot .
The building regs give a rule of thumb that the flue should be 4.5 m high (section 2.8 p30) ? But building regs are very difficult things to read and this might only apply to some cases.