I have been unable at present to login to the Green Building Forum (..now resolved), meanwhile I wanted to say this (in response to a post from Keith Hall, Editor of GBM on that forum):
"the position that the AECB is taking on this matter"(quoted Keith Hall)
This is a great debate going on here [GB forum]. I am not going to say much at this point except to emphasise that this is NOT a 'position' that the AECB has 'taken'. It clearly states on the paper that this is a 'discussion' paper, and that is what it is.
As others have said it is a debate that has become important to stimulate, because of recent moves to increase dramatically the amount of biomass being used as fuel. This means that different issues (issues of scale) arise that were not important when only a small amount of wood was being used as fuel. As said elsewhere, it arises when current thinking, appropriate either in a small scale or low population context, is adopted without 'upscaling' that thinking by the mainstream to be applied at a much larger scale.
We all love fire - in my personal view fire is a powerful and ancient energy that should be part of of our everyday lives, but not to be relied on to heat large numbers of our houses across different sectors (rural small holding cf urban home etc) or to be used up for power generation, thus limiting availability for more 'worthy' users!.
Places for open / log fires?
pubs, community buildings, festivals, hospitals (!!), barbecues, campfires etc. And I won't argue with a few homes using local waste wood either as long as they are not in my town and burning treated, painted, melamine faced offcuts and other crap (as is often the case....) !
At our nr. passivhaus refurb in Hereford, we occasionally light a fire in the Chiminea and sit outside for the evening. This winter (having taken out the radiator in the living room) we will use candles in the old fireplace to satisfy our primeval needs (and add some aditional warmth to the room (MVHR keeps the air clean, I will see how dirty the filter gets !) etc etc, I have resisted so far tubs of ethanol gel that mimics a real fire, and with emissions that the MVHR can deal with! I just know someone will now tell me how bad candles are.
BTW gas and electric consumption on the house are available here for those interested to see how it is working. http://www.retrofitforthefuture.org/search.php?s=enerphit
I look forward to the debate starting to settle down and start to provide some indication as to nationally how we should use this complicated resource wisely.
BTW again: as far as I can see, Hereford City is not covered by the Clean Air Act? Is your area? I am worried medium to longer term about air quality issues in Hereford as a result of energy costs and the Biomass as fuel issues. If it really helped things I might accept poor air quality...