Hampstead passes by-law banning wood-burning 'appliances'

Martin C.
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Hampstead passes by-law banning wood-burning 'appliances'

Throwing a few logs onto the fire to ward off the chills, or boosting a home's market value by saying it has a fireplace, could soon be memories in the Town of Hampstead, where a bylaw cracking down on wood-burning has just been passed.

By-law No. 729-2, dealing with construction and plumbing, as well as wood-burning appliances, states that "no person shall install a wood burning appliance, in which wood or solid fuel is burned and which discharges combustion products to the air, in or about any residential property."

The by-law defines "wood burning appliance" as "a fireplace insert, wood stove, central furnace or similar device, including a pellet stove and any outdoor solid fuel combustion appliance." It further states that "this by-law does not apply to barbeques."

A fireplace insert is a device, usually a steel chamber with glass door in front and vents around, that is inserted into a brick fireplace. Its purpose is to increase heating efficiency. "It is the responsibility of every property owner that already has such appliances installed to comply with this article of the By-law within seven (7) years of it coming into force," the by-law adds.

Responding to a resident's questions about the ban during last week's town council meeting, Mayor Bill Steinberg said the purpose was "to get people not to use their fireplaces on days when there's a lot of smog … A lot of people are using it when there's a lot of smog. It's a health hazard for old people, young people, people who have respiratory diseases."

In an interview, Steinberg told The Monitor, "I don't know how early we are on this. I think we're one of the first towns doing it. But I suspect if others haven't done it, including Montreal, they will be doing it — some maybe even more stringent than we are. "They may even ban fireplaces. But we feel this is a reasonable measure to take at this point in time, because the smog that's created by wood burning appliances is a serious problem … "I don't think there are any people in Hampstead who are contemplating putting in any wood burning appliances," he added. "But if they are, they will not be able to do so as soon as the by-law is published."

While Steinberg acknowledged that even his home is equipped with a fireplace, he said, "The truth is it's been years since we used our fireplace and that's what we would encourage people to do. "If you have a fireplace — and most homes in Hampstead do have fireplaces — okay, use them once in a while. But don't use them on a regular basis. It's bad for people's health."

Geographic location: Hampstead, Montreal

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  • martin parkes
    February 17, 2010 - 14:18

    What a bunch of garbage spewing from the verbal chimneys.Not all wood burning appliances pollute like you say they do. Yes the old stoves and i agree fireplaces do,these new catalytic converter stoves do not.I live in northern B.C where i start my stove around sept 20 until april 30 i heat a 2800 sqaure foot house in -20 to -30 degree weather and burn less than 3 cord of very dry pine all winter. Six small 18 inch long logs will burn from 18 to 26 hours with no smoke from my chimney i can even hold my hand on the inside stove pipe when its running as all the smoke and particulate is burnt in the catalyts and discharges the heat into the room.I live in a very well to do neighbourhood and my neighbours have never coplained some dont even know i burn wood.The stove and pipe are expensive over $4000 but it paid for itself in 2 years.So before you go blanket stating all stoves are bad do your research.If you want to get on your high horse and ban something that causes cancer,Ban houshold cleaning products,plastic bottles,all fast food restaurants,gas and diesel burning autos,cigarettes,alcohol etc etc etc. i hope you get the point.

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  • timo
    February 17, 2010 - 14:18

    Wood burning is carbon neutral.

  • Peter Merrill
    February 17, 2010 - 14:18

    There is no logic to this decision. Woodburning done correctly, is a carbon neutral process. The city of Hampstead has contradicted itself in this process by allowing the continued used of brick (masonry) fireplaces. This is the most innefficient, and pollutant generation form of woodburning.

  • peter jonigkeit
    February 17, 2010 - 14:18

    At the rate we are going , Cuba or Russia will soon look like a bastian of freedom

  • timo
    February 10, 2010 - 12:55

    Wood burning is carbon neutral.

  • martin parkes
    February 10, 2010 - 12:55

    What a bunch of garbage spewing from the verbal chimneys.Not all wood burning appliances pollute like you say they do. Yes the old stoves and i agree fireplaces do,these new catalytic converter stoves do not.I live in northern B.C where i start my stove around sept 20 until april 30 i heat a 2800 sqaure foot house in -20 to -30 degree weather and burn less than 3 cord of very dry pine all winter. Six small 18 inch long logs will burn from 18 to 26 hours with no smoke from my chimney i can even hold my hand on the inside stove pipe when its running as all the smoke and particulate is burnt in the catalyts and discharges the heat into the room.I live in a very well to do neighbourhood and my neighbours have never coplained some dont even know i burn wood.The stove and pipe are expensive over $4000 but it paid for itself in 2 years.So before you go blanket stating all stoves are bad do your research.If you want to get on your high horse and ban something that causes cancer,Ban houshold cleaning products,plastic bottles,all fast food restaurants,gas and diesel burning autos,cigarettes,alcohol etc etc etc. i hope you get the point.

  • Peter Merrill
    February 10, 2010 - 12:55

    There is no logic to this decision. Woodburning done correctly, is a carbon neutral process. The city of Hampstead has contradicted itself in this process by allowing the continued used of brick (masonry) fireplaces. This is the most innefficient, and pollutant generation form of woodburning.

  • peter jonigkeit
    February 10, 2010 - 12:55

    At the rate we are going , Cuba or Russia will soon look like a bastian of freedom

  • Giulia D'Alesio
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    THIS IS THE BEST NEWS I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME IT HAS GIVEN US BACK HOPE FOR A HEALTHER LIFE, AND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT! TO BAN WOOD BURNING IS THE ONLY WAY WE ALL WILL BE PROTECTED FROM THE BURNERS! THE ONLY THING IS WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE BAN FOR ALL WOOD BURNING APPLIANCES TO COME INTO FORCE SOONER WE UNDERSTAND VERY WELL THE HAZARD OF WOOD SMOKE,

  • Stella Haley
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Our web site proves the critical risks and presents information they do not want you to know about the increased EPA Certified stove emissions. Our children are at high risk from wood smoke. False claims by industry about emissions being reduced in EPA Certified stoves are irresponsibly endorsed by our own government. This is due to lobbyists influencing agencies. Should the Lung Association and our institutions be held responsible for the harm caused by misleading the public by endorsing non science no truths in statements pushing EPA? Clearly death and disease result from this non truthful advertising. The government must be challenged with a class action law suit. Evidence proves breast cancer associated carcinogens, dioxins and emissions are increased 400% in Certified EPA stoves.Intertec 2000. The powerful wood stove industry is an American owned tax free charity controlling Canada since 1991. They self certify within CSA.3000 studies prove, as the Quebec Lung Association not N.B.states "Wood Burning is killing our Children." June 19, 2008 Montreal Gazette. Should we do more than Hamstead has done. We applaud Hamstead. We need to do more now. We must be much more protective, for the sake of the kids. We must ban all cancer causing wood smoke. Yes it is critical! Speak up against wood smoke..worse than cigarette smoke.Smoke is inhaled 20000 times a day into the lungs of our kids and babies, pregnant women..Kids deserve better. We all do.

  • Stephen B
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Yes I know the price of oil and nat. gas is down now, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next several years as oil depletion really starts impacting society. Hopefully the power grid stays up so all the suburban Montrealers can stay warm. Banning the burning of wood is a luxury that modern society can afford while we enjoy fossil fuels. It remains to be seen if this will continue to be the case.

  • Giulia D'Alesio
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    BEST NEWS I HAVE READ IN LONG TIME. IT'S TO BAD THE BAN ON ALL WOOD BURNING APPLIANCES CAN NOT BE INFORCE SOONER. WE UNDERSTAND VERY WELL THE HAZARD OF WOOD BURNING!

  • Ross
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    This bylaw is all wrong. When burned in a modern controlled combustion appliance, wood is a clean, efficient and carbon neutral energy source for space heating. What is required is a bylaw that specifies standards for wood burning appliances to ensure that they are non-polluting. Fireplaces are the first thing that should be banned outright. They pollute badly and contribute virtually nothing to heating indoor space - often they remove more heat from the room than they add. Please Hampstead, go back and do the homework before passing knee-jerk bylaws of this kind.

  • Tom
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Years ago, we used a wood fireplace, but only rarely. (Christmas, and once or twice during the winter) But we switched to natural gas because of the mess, smelly smoke, etc. We would never use wood now, having learned of the health dangers from wood smoke. Tom

  • Jerome
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Incredible to read so many morons writing in capital letters... wow impressive Do they live in hampstead ? do they have to remove their fireplace for the sake of 'the children' ? Fuck it's not about burning or not burning wood it's about freedom, freedom to use the house you bought and that is your property. Your neihgbours have a right to a clean air, but they don't have the right to remove freedom from you. Do you know that the mayor has the old kind of fireplace, the kind you don't have to remove ? It's always like that the 'I-know-all-and-everything-that-is-good-for-you' will tell you what to do, to buy, to own and to think. I'm living in Hampstead, have no car, no fireplace, 4 kids and i don't want to control anybody's life. I know what is good for my kids and my family and i certainly don't need any stupid advices from mayor nor 'good-thing-for-the-sake-of-our-kids'.

  • Stella Haley
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    There is evidence that our government has been endorsing this misguided American owned wood stove industry.Clearly Natural resources Canada has betrayed us all as records show the government has allowed the industry outstanding powers. These leaders in Ottawa and provincial counterparts have been negligent in hiding the truth about the Certified CSA?EPA> It is a hoax beyond cigarette fraud. We need to know. Citizens have the right to know how harmful wood smoke is. With 99% of emissions not disclosed and given wrong non truths, people are at risk. We applaud Hamstead. The banning of EPA Stoves was initiated in Golden B.C. in 2005. Smoke in any form is a critical cause of cancer and disease. Standards and science as well as integrity appear exempt in Certification. Is this due to lobbyists controlling the Natural Resources Canada. Is our government like with asbestos serving the interests of the few who stand to profit in Washington and Ottawa?. Given the 3000 studies that prove the risks to children and women, including Cornell University and Breast Cancer and The New England Journal of Medicine, the devistation of lives with the chemicals and the dioxin risks, the wood smoke is a critical risk to the most vulnerable. . Given the EPA Stoves increase dioxin by 400% (Intertec Research 2005 Funded by EnvCan) and not one single study proves emissions are reduced in American Certified "Bush EPA Stoves", Given the research shows that deadly chemicals are not tested. Less than one percent and these are and these are not reduced outside the labs. Given the industry owns the labs..and many other violations , these facts prove we have a problem. Why is the industry in full control of such a serious matter as the air we breathe? Why is the industry able to manufacture and benefitn from millions of free dollars, our tax money used to harm our children? Should the stove industry be a registered tax free charity? With the industry owning the labs, and no emissions proven to be reduced outside of labs we have to ask those who defend the cigarette like industry , those favored few who favor children breathing "light Cigarette smoke or EPA smoke" to rethink with morality not deception burdening with smoke disese and death , asthma and cancer, all on the backs of children. Shameless! This wood stove EPA is a serious problem. What we suggest is a class action law suit. given the cases sprouting up this is action legally recommended. . Misrepresentation and misleading innocent Canadians with wrong information, emissions causing death and disease complied with proof of serious misrepresentation of fact. Should Canadians trust institutions like the Lung Association in N.B. where forestry reigns and is troubled economicallly, should we have confidence in agencies who endorse smoke sold as safe,an unprincipled industry? Cancer prevention is critical to the well being of society. Woodsmoke is a carcinogen. Attempting to sell a product that will steal the breath and life of children is wrong. We need more forceful immediate relief from the long time overdue harm inflicted onto our children by the smoke stove pollution business. We applaud the Quebec Lung Association for stating courageously in the Montreal gazette, June 19, 2008, "Wood Smoke is killing our children." Is EPA American Certified Smoke right for your children, to breathe into their growing vulnerable lungs and into the blood cells at least 20000 breaths a day? As a mother who saw her own child with a cancer I say NO. Our children deserve betternow.We all deserve better air than wood smoke cancer air. Give people back the right to smoke free neighbourhoods. In 2008 burning trees seems foolish and those who think otherwise are pushing smoke, a planetary suicidal toxin.We need to send this industry back to the lowly lofts wher it came from. Washington. We need to save our kids. Give Canadian kids air not light EPA American certified smoke. No smoke is the only safe smoke. Montreal and Canada must stand up for the health of our citizens. We need to restore Canadians with the right to security within their homes. Stop all wood smoke and investigate this industry. There is no truth about EPA Certified safe smoke. Return citizens their rights to their own homes and halt the threat and the violations of smoke from others onto citizen's property. Hamstead, we encourage you to take bigger safer steps for the children, and the environment. Montreal must do more for us all. Visit our site. Thank you. From Stella web host at www.citizensfeh.com

  • JOAN GRAHAM DOIRON & HENRI DOIRON
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Thanks to Hampstead for showing leadership on cleaning our air in North America. Wood smoke is killing our children (June 19th Gazette) and many of the rest of us. The truth is that any wood burning is highly toxic and causes 50% of Montréal air pollution. As well, as Clean Air Revival (BurningIssues.org)shows: WOOD BURNING IS NOT CARBON NEUTRAL - WHEN WOOD ROTS, IT CONTRIBUTES TO OUR MOISTURE & RAIN CYCLE - WHEN IT BURNS, IT STOPS THAT CYCLE - AND PRODUCES MORE POLLUTION THAN ANY OTHER OPTION WE HAVE FOR HEATING! We hope that we all will benefit by an end to wood burning in cities and and rural areas right across North America and beyond.

  • Stella Haley
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Please visit web site: www.citizensfeh.com Wood smoke , EPA The real Story..learn about the "Smoke Screens" What critical "Dangers to Children" . Who is telling lies and who is paying the price? Who is getting easy money? at what costs? Children breathing dioxin 20000 times a day! That is serious. Wood smoke is a crime against the children. Speak up. The kids deserve better air than smoke. We all need safe smoke free air. Hurrah for Hamstead! It is a step. We must do more and much faster.

  • Vicki Morell
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Thank God somebody finally has the sense and guts to ban this toxic smoke.

  • Brie Oishi
    February 10, 2010 - 11:46

    Brie Oishi A very environmentally friendly bylaw and Mayor Steinberg deserves applause; but the seven year phasing out time span of existing fireplaces seems to be 7 years too long; I feel, unless Hampstead has the most considered and obliging citizens who will burn only occasionally. And even then; the emission of those air polluting devices will be drawn into neighbouring homes and can cause serious harm to people; as it has been in my case since the 1970ties. Here in Port Coquitlam, B.C. (West coast) New Homes have been equipped with gas burning fireplaces for almost two decades and recently our Mayor and Council have been approached to be the first community on the Lower Mainland to ban existing Wood-burning Fireplaces. For it does not make much sense to have a few individuals burning all sorts of trash in their fireplaces and pollute the air for all the surrounding neighbours. As was said by Ann Landers years ago; “The air belongs to everyone and no one has the right to pollute it.”

  • Heike Faerber
    February 08, 2010 - 11:15

    Why are pellet stoves included in this ban? The new generation state-of-the art pellet stoves are an environmentally sound alternative to all house heating option. Research has shown that pellet stoves can be considered a green option when all steps in production of heating fuel are considered. I hope Hampstead will re-consider and that Montreal will not follow this precedent. Heike Faerber

  • Sheryl Richardson
    February 08, 2010 - 11:15

    Kudos in taking the first step to save people living next door to wood smoke. My neighbors pump smoke in my bedroom windows every day, we don't sleep, we don't seem to have the same rights to clean oxygen as the rest of the world. Why? Because our ignorant neighbors burn unseasoned wood and trach and treated lumbar. All of you woodburners out there, don't hate the non-burners who are gasping for clean air, hate the filthy burners who forced us to demand it. It's always the idiots that create the dysfunction. I hope Michigan takes a page from your book and steps up to the plate!!

  • C. Ruth
    February 08, 2010 - 11:15

    This is encouraging news. I hope that other communities will also take this step for the sake of air quality and health. The young, the old, expectant mothers, or anyone else with health issues caused or aggravated by wood smoke particles should not have to suffer the harmful effects of wood burning.