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Paris: Ban on log fires goes up in smoke

Ben McPartland · 30 Dec 2014, 09:24

Published: 30 Dec 2014 09:24 GMT+01:00

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From Thursday January 1st 2015 open log fires in Paris and several departments around the capital were set to become illegal, but the ban has gone up in flames it seems.

France Info reported on Tuesday the ban was to be scrapped just days after the country’s Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal spoke out against a move, which did however have the support of the Socialist-led Paris Town Hall.

Royal, former partner of the French president, had described the ban as “ridiculous” and had vowed to overturn it.

“They made us believe it was more polluting than diesel,” Royal said.

“Consumer groups have approached me about this prohibition and I am not in favour of it,” she added.

“It seems excessive. I’m all for encouraging people to become aware of pollution but I don’t want it to be due to one decision, that I find a little absurd.”

A debate has been burning in recent weeks over how much of the pollution around the capital comes from wood burning.

Airparif, which monitors air quality in and around Paris, has said that 39 percent of fine particle emissions come from cars and only four percent from wood burning.

Those in the timber industry as well as chimney sweeps had all vociferously protested against the new law, claiming the pollution argument was a red herring.

“France is home to the fourth largest forested area in Europe and there are wood burning stoves that are high performing,” added Royal.

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Her arguments also had the support of the François de Rugy, vice president of the ecology group in the French parliament.

He also refuted that the pollution around Paris is due to wood burning.

Paris suffers from regular spikes in air pollution. In March, the problem got so bad that authorities banned half of all cars from the streets and made public transport free for several days.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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