Increased use of gas boilers and cookers could lead to a spike in nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution this winter, according to a new report published by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).
There are approximately 21 million gas boilers across the country, with less than 5% of homes getting their heating from low carbon sources.
Gas combustion in buildings from boilers and cookers is a major source of local pollution, accounting for approximately one fifth (21%) of total NOx emissions across Greater London.
According to the report, as more time is spent working from home, boiler use is predicted to rise by 56% this winter.
The authors have warned that this will offset progress made in reducing transport emissions.
Jess Ralston, author of the report and analyst at the ECIU said: ‘Taking a lead from the UK Climate Assembly, where 9 in 10 people supported a gas boiler ban, the Heat and Buildings Strategy expected this year should give an indication of how the Government is going to address both the carbon emissions and air quality impacts associated with gas heating.
‘Opting for a clean alternative will help curb CO2 emissions and also help to reduce the dangerous levels of NOx highlighted in this report.’
Dr Anna Moore, the respiratory registrar and spokesperson for the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, added: ‘It’s commonly known that nitrogen oxide pollution from road traffic harms health, and especially lung health.
‘There’s less awareness however of alternative sources of these harmful pollutants from within our homes.
‘Domestic gas boilers contribute significantly to total NOx emissions. While it is important for our health to have warm homes over the winter, the projected rise in exposure to air pollution as more people are working from home is concerning. ’
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