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Polluting fuels used in household wood burners and fires will be phased out from next year, the government has announced.

The sale of the two most polluting fuels - coal and wet wood - for domestic burning will be banned by 2023 in a bid to cut air pollution.

The government hopes the move will encourage people to use cleaner fuels in their home - like dry wood or manufactured solid fuels - which are also more efficient to burn.

The sale of bags of coal for home use will be phased out from February next year, followed by the sale of loose coal from approved merchants by February 2023.

Sales of wet wood - which has a moisture content of more than 20 per cent and produces much more smoke than wood that has been dried out - will also be phased out from next year, with large quantities only being sold with advice on how to dry it out.

Retailers will be phasing out the sale of bags of coal from February next year

Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of the pollutant ‘PM2.5’, and emit twice the contribution of industrial burning and three times the contribution of road transport, according to the government.

This form of pollution consists of tiny particles which penetrate the body's lungs and blood and can cause serious health problems.

Environment secretary George Eustice said: "Cosy open fires and wood-burning stoves are at the heart of many homes up and down the country, but the use of certain fuels means that they are also the biggest source of the most harmful pollutant that is affecting people in the UK.

"By moving towards the use of cleaner fuels such as dry wood we can all play a part in improving the health of millions of people.

"This is the latest step in delivering on the challenge we set ourselves in our world-leading Clean Air Strategy.

"We will continue to be ambitious and innovative in tackling air pollution from all sources as we work towards our goal to halve the harm to human health from air pollution by 2030."

The new laws will not ban from people from having a wood burner in their home.

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