Tuesday, 15 June 2010

All I want is a log fire...

There's something about a log fire, don't you think? Ok, it may be down to hormones, I'm not one to arguing that, especially with my current lack of energy (which incidentally has a diagnosis, yes, it's pregnancy, would you believe it, or rather anaemia which is apparently quite common in pregnant vegetarians, now roll over black pudding).

But truly, don't you think there's nothing cosier than a log fire in your house on a cold and dreich Scottish winter night, especially when you'll be cuddling a newborn? Can you tell that summer hasn't quite arrived yet and I'm thinking of winter? Anyway, to elaborate on my top item of the nesting to do list, I want a log fire. Ideally a wood burning stove. In which I can burn the neighbour's massive tree which is keeping the sun out of our south facing bit of garden half of the 3 days that we have sun (of course I would never do such a thing or harm a tree, but jee, that tree is massive and would keep a log fire going for a winter or two).

My problem is that Glasgow is a Smoke Control Area. Apparently that means that you can't burn wood in the boundaries of Glasgow City Council. I've tried to follow this up but nobody in Glasgow City Council seems to be aware of this legislation or what it means in practice. Which in a way I'm sure means that if I were to burn wood, this would go relatively unnoticed. That's not the point though. What is then, I hear you ask. Well, the point is that wood is a sustainable source of energy - you can grow trees again and again. You can't grow coal (which is the fuel of choice that is smoke free and recommended for open fires in Smoke Control Areas).

It's not all that straight forward, thankfully. What with my fling with the Transition movement coming above me as it does every so often, I was rather agitated by the fact that a sustainable energy source was bad mouthed over a non-sustainable, carbon based resource. Yes, I know that in times gone by smoke from wood and other smoky fuels polluted the Glasgow air, destroyed buildings and killed people. But we're not talking unsafe and extensive burning of wood. I'm thinking along the line of wood stoves in the few houses that do still have an open, rather than a gas, fire. Such as ours. I feel the regulation is outdated and could be changed and I'm almost ready to challenge it. Just that, as I said, it's not that straight forward. Because, on closer inspection, it turns out that there are some wood burning stoves that are exempt (read approved) in relation to Smoke Control Areas. This means you can use them in Glasgow to burn wood. Hurray!

There's not many, so the choice isn't great, and I don't know if the approved stoves come with a hefty price tag. So there's a few points of attack for the Smoke Control Area regulations: get more wood stoves approved (apparently the standards for all are high enough to be exempt, but getting the stamp seems to be laborious or maybe expensive), change the Smoke Control Area regulation to generally allow wood burning stoves and other safe ways of burning wood, or redraw Glasgow City boundaries (we're awfully close to East Renfrewshire where you can burn wood...). Whoppie, I have 3 campaigns in one!



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