Bristol Sweet Mart Stops Feeding Wood Burners

Bristol Sweet Mart will stop selling Wood for Burning because the smoke damages people’s health[1]. This January, Wood Burning is causing record levels of Ultrafine Particle Air Pollution [PM2.5] in Easton.[2]

When Saaf Hava [3] formed RADE [Residents Against Dirty Energy] and CBM [Council of Bristol Mosques] approached Bristol Sweet Mart [BSM] to put sensors on their St Marks Road building as one of 20 Air Monitoring sites in Easton.

BSM was an ideal location for measuring Particulate and Nitrogen Dioxide Air Pollution, and for monitoring Wood sales from the shop over one winter.

As Rashid Majothi of Bristol Sweet Mart explained “I used to think Air Pollution was all about Traffic. I forgot seeing the clouds of Wood smoke from cooking in Uganda when I was a child. RADE showed me the graphs from previous winters and I was shocked. Later that day Tehseen and I Googled ‘PM2.5’ and ‘Particulates’. We almost stopped selling wood on the spot. But we understood how useful Wood sales data could be.”

Then came a Covid-19 Winter and a risk that Particulate Air Pollution made the infection worse. Real worries about numbers of people suffering in the community came to a head over New Year. Levels of Air Pollution from Wood Burning reached record heights in Easton. Arif Khan [Chair of CBM] told Saaf Hava’s Project Team that BSM had decided they couldn’t carry on selling Wood. “Going into Lockdown with Covid-19 rising changed the game. We couldn’t ask BSM to keep on selling wood just for a few statistics”. Arif went on to say

“Air Pollution is associated with several adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, Air Pollution affects society’s most vulnerable: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues because areas with poor air quality are often less affluent areas like BS5.

We understand from recent reports the annual health cost to society of Particulate matter alone in the UK is about £16 billion. Bristol is the 8th largest city outside of London and the 10th largest local authority. The primary pollutants of concern within Bristol are Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate matter. More has to be done collectively, and we all have an immense responsibility. We are very pleased that BSM have stopped selling wood to restrict wood burning and other toxins in our air.”

So “on a day when PM2.5 hasn’t dropped below the WHO 24 hour limit of 25ug/m3 [4] we’d rather reduce the supply of Wood in Easton, than gather more data on a single point of sale.” said Stuart Phelps [Core member of RADE].

For more information email:

PM10 & PM2.5 levels on St Marks Road on 7th January 2021

[1] In 2020 BSM sold 430 Nets of Kiln Dried Beech, and 241 five kg Nets of Kindling

[2] More Information: email

[3] Saaf Hava [Clean Air] is a joint project between RADE & CBM to co-locate Particulate and NO2 monitors on 20 sites across 1.6 km2 of Easton [BS5]. The Particulate Sensors are linked to the international Luftdaten [Sensor Community] Project – they can viewed on this map in real time. NO2 will be monitored by diffusion tubes. The deployment of all 20 sites has been slowed by Covid-19 restrictions but is already operating on 6 sites.

[4] WHO Air quality guideline values for Particulate matter (PM). Guideline values. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)

  • 10 μg/m3 annual mean
  • 25 μg/m3 24-hour mean