Wood Smoke Stories

Struggling to breathe in Scotland

We moved to a beautiful bungalow in a rural village in Dollar in Scotland to get away from the drug dealing neighbour who used to live in the flat underneath us. This was our dream home and it had a huge garden where I was going to be able to relax and learn to live with my new diagnosis of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

We hadn't long moved in when the neighbours next door installed a woodburner with the chimney being just 2 metres away from our windows. Fortunately they didn't use it much and moved soon after. The next person who moved in couldn't keep it lit so never used it but now we have a new neighbour who burns from 3.30 in the afternoon to 12 midnight. She even has her gas central heating on at the same time. I went around to ask her not to use it so much and told her how it impacts on my health and she said she would but then went ahead and burnt it until 2am 2 nights in a row.

Since we moved in, another 6 woodburners have been installed around us. We are being choked out. All these people have gas central heating and none of them need a woodburner. They have them for aesthetic reasons.

As we live next to hills, the weather is cold and damp and misty and foggy a lot of the time. There is no wind to move the air away so the woodsmoke from all the woodburners just hangs in the air all night and all day.

I have had to move away for the months of October through to February as I am struggling to breathe around the smoke. Environmental Health can do nothing about it other than tell the people to burn dry wood. There is no legislation in Scotland to stop the rise of woodburners and they are on the rise.