HAMPSTEAD, QUEBEC — The town of Hampstead, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, has banned the installation of wood stoves and ordered all existing wood stoves to be removed within the next seven years. The new bylaw covers stoves, fireplace inserts, furnaces, and boilers that burn wood or wood pellets, all of which must be removed by November 3, 2015. Barbecues and indoor masonry fireplaces are exempt from the ban. The new Hampstead by-law states, “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.”
Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg explained that wood stoves “create an incredible amount of pollution.” The Hampstead by-law has sparked strong reactions. One letter to the editor of the Westmount Examiner suggested an alternate fuel: “Homeowners should burn all unnecessary by-laws in their fireplace.” Responding to critics, Mayor Steinberg noted, “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.”
The Wood Heat Policy Institute (WHPI), a group funded by wood stove manufacturers, released a statement criticizing the Hampstead wood-stove ban. “The by-law adopted by the council contains the most sweeping and uncompromising limits to the use of wood fuel of any jurisdiction in Canada,” noted the WHPI statement. “Quebec has among the highest household use of wood fuel in Canada, with almost 60 per cent of rural households burning some wood, according to a 2006 federal government survey. Twenty-two per cent of urban households in Quebec burn wood. Wood is not a trivial or marginal energy source, but is a mainstream heating fuel used by over one million Quebec homeowners.” In fact, the number of wood stoves installed in the province increased sharply after a 1998 ice storm that left many Quebec homeowners without power for weeks.
RESIDENTS ARE BURNING UP in the town of Hampstead, Quebec, which, has passed a law requiring all existing wood stoves to be removed within seven years. 22% of the residents of Quebec heat with wood.
Surrounding towns are in no hurry to emulate Hampstead’s example. Bob Benedetti, the mayor of Beaconsfield, Quebec, told a West Island Gazette reporter, “We’re not going to rush off and ban something we can’t enforce. There’s no question this stuff is unhealthy. All experts say particulate matter, especially on smog days, is bad. It ranks right up there with smoking. I agree and sympathize with the people who are affected by the smog caused by wood stoves but we can’t rush in. It has to be reasonable and easily enforceable.” See story here.