Horsham controversy over wood-burning stoves (West Sussex County Times 15th February 2021

Some fear that the fires are a danger to health and the environment.

And a Billingshurst man stoked up anger when he called on people to stop using them and suggested that the fires were merely ‘a fashion statement.’

Robert Bishop maintained that it was impossible to follow Government Covid advice and open windows because of smoke from neighbours’ wood fires.

But others have hit back, saying that, far from being a ‘fashion statement,’ the fires are an essential source of heat for many homes in the Horsham area without gas supplies.

And they maintain that wood is a renewable source of energy, unlike oil or gas.

However, Asthma UK says burning wood gives off tiny particles that can get into the airways.

A spokesman said: “Breathing them in can make your airways inflamed, bringing on asthma symptoms

Carrie Cort, founder of Sussex Green Living

Carrie Cort, founder of Sussex Green Living

“If you’re using a wood-burning stove, make sure it’s well maintained, and that you’re using dry woods.”

The British Lung Foundation also cautions the use of wood-burners. A spokesman said: “Burning wood and coal in a stove or on an open fire releases particulate matter, which has shown a range of adverse health impacts, including decreased lung development and function, exacerbation of asthma, allergy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, and increased risk of lung cancer.”

Carrie Cort, founder of Sussex Green Living, said: “Open fires and wood burning stoves are not eco … unless you coppice and burn your own wood.

“If everyone went to wood stoves there would be more air pollution and less forests.

“We import from Europe a lot of the wood pellets for wood chip boilers so there are big transportation issues too.

“Open fires are not very efficient, wood burners are much more efficient, however both do cause small particles of air pollution which find their way into the body’s lungs and blood.

“Using a fire or log burner from locally coppiced or fallen trees when the wood is dry, occasionally is OK.

“Ideally we insulate our home and build new houses which are ‘Passive houses’ that don’t need heating or very little.

“If people like relaxing in front of a fire, ideally use an electric fire or stove using clean renewable energy, as found through our cost comparison energy switching site https://bigcleanswitch.org/sussexgreen,

“Everyone we have helped switch at the Horsham Repair Cafe has saved between £90 and £366 switching to clean energy.”

The solid fuel standards agency HETAS says that new legislation is being introduced soon that will ban the use of wet wood with a new ‘Ready to Burn’ scheme which comes into force in England in May this year.

A spokesman said: “Defra has appointed Woodsure to run its Ready to Burn certification scheme for firewood.

“Wood sold in volumes of up to 2m³ will need to be certified as having a moisture content of 20 per cent or less.

“Suppliers selling larger quantities will need to provide customers with clear instructions on storing and seasoning so it is dry to burn.

“For the past four years, Woodsure has been leading the way in championing the use of less polluting dry wood and driving awareness of its certification scheme.

“The non-profit organisation’s independent inspectors verify the wood as having a moisture content of up to 20 per cent, which means it burns with less smoke than wetter wood.

“Woodsure works closely with suppliers and retailers to improve the quality of domestic firewood and to raise awareness among consumers about the need to use dry wood to reduce pollution and maximise heat efficiency.”

SGL team in front of Eco station

Council green grants help fund Eco Station for Horsham District

Horsham District Council is delighted to announce that funding from its recently launched Community Climate Fund initiative is set to benefit a local outreach project to create a mobile educational Eco Station.


Local charity Sussex Green Living applied for a grant from the Council’s Horsham District Community Climate Fund and successfully received £5,000 to get their Inspiration Eco Station on the road.


Volunteers at the multi-award winning Sussex Green Living have created a unique environmental outreach project using a refurbished 1974 milk float, they plan to show local people that there is a Bright New Future ahead.


The Inspiration Eco Station is a colourful and engaging mobile display that will travel to schools, colleges, faith groups and community events to share top tips on how residents can save money whilst reducing their negative impact on the planet. From tackling eco home and gardens, waste prevention and recycling, fast fashion to low carbon career opportunities there will be lots of inspiring ideas, solutions to help people save money and live more sustainably.


Carrie Cort, CEO of Sussex Green Living, said: “We are so grateful for all the support we’ve had for this project. It would not have been possible without the Council’s climate fund grant as well as another £5000 from the Welton Fund and the Nino Fund at Sussex Community. And, of course, the incredibly hard work, passion and creativity of our volunteers”.

She continued: “Universal Trailers in Coneyhurst have kindly agreed to donate the use of a trailer when events are beyond the floats range – it has been a real community effort”.


The Inspiration Eco Station is being launched in Horsham Market on Saturday 15 May. It is also part of Sussex Green Living’s Bright New Future Roadshow which will make its first public appearance on World Environment Day on 5th June at Amberley Museum. Using song, music, stories, poetry, environmental games and inspiring displays the roadshow partners will share inspiring solutions.


The Council launched the Horsham District Community Climate Fund in July 2020 to enable voluntary and community groups, as well as Parish and Neighbourhood Councils, to work on projects to reduce carbon and improve our local environment.


A new round of grant funding now open, with the date for applications closing on14 May 2021.

Fund applications can be related to any of the following themes:


  • Energy – such as reducing consumption and increasing the use of renewable forms of energy
  • Water – such as reducing consumption and reducing the threats from flooding
  • Waste minimisation – reducing waste, reusing resources and recycling resources for example using composting bins
  • Biodiversity – increasing wildlife, such as the creation of pocket parks and community orchards
  • Sustainable transport – such as encouraging cycling and walking.

There are three levels of funds available:-

  • up to £1,000
  • up to £2,500 (which requires more information from the applicant)
  • up to £5,000 (which requires match funding from the applicant).

The funds must be used for brand new projects, which will last beyond the funding provided by the Council, and include a commitment to inform the wider community about the project and encourage others to take action.

For media queries please email .


Notes for editors


About Sussex Green Living


Sussex Green Living Sussex Green Living, is a registered charity offering information, education, debate and inspiring practical ideas for environmentally friendly living, and ways to reduce our negative impact on the natural world. With lots of volunteers they run the Horsham Repair Café, the Youth Eco Forum, Sussex Green Ideas (Zoom meetings), talks and sessions for adults and children and single use plastic recycling through TerraCycle in 12 locations within Horsham District.

More information can be found at https://www.sussexgreenliving.co.uk/green-education/bright-new-future/


Schools and event organisers can download a flyer from this page, watch a promotional video and learn more here https://www.sussexgreenliving.co.uk/green-education/bright-new-future/

Promotional video can be watched here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voQlS-lodHI

To book the Inspiration Eco Station please contact Carrie on .



About Universal Trailers


Universal Trailers are an experienced and trusted authority in the trailer industry, representing Ifor Williams Trailers, Britain’s largest trailer manufacturer, not only in the South of England but also across the globe.


Established in 1982 and based in Coneyhurst near Billingshurst, they are a family run company with a loyal and dedicated team who provide excellent customer care, before, during and after purchase to ensure all our customers receive the best possible service.


As a company, they are proud to support Sussex Green Living by providing the trailer to transport their milk float based Inspiration Eco Station, allowing their Bright New Future Roadshow to reach out specifically to the younger generation in their quest to promote the need for climate change and the many environmental issues we face today.




Ezine cover April 2021

The Latest E-Zine from the Youth Eco Forum is out!

The April 2021 edition of this quarterly publication is out, and its fabulous as usual!  Browse through accessible and beautifully illustrated articles: opinions on the pandemic’s impact on the environment to vegan feasts and managing food waste, Bee SOS, the Eco-Church, and the importance of seaweed.  Interesting, engaging and inspiring.

Sussex Green Ideas

Our Corona Virus Action Plan-

Horsham Climate Cafe goes online

We hope you will all be delighted to hear – The Horsham Climate Cafe will continue throughout the current social distancing and quarantine measures! We’re now switching to online meetings using Zoom (see joining instructions below!), a FREE and easy to use video chat and video conferencing service. Please feel free to join any of our sessions to continue to be involved, or use this as a great chance to see what we’re about for the first time (all from the comfort of your own home!). Until we can resume our physical meetings, please do pop in on us – we are running EVERY Saturday at 2pm for an hour – we’d love to see you there! In our sessions, we like to talk about pocket and planet-saving ideas for the community (all quarantine friendly ideas, of course!). See below for the exciting schedule for our planned sessions so far…

A Fairer Easter for People and Planet

This article by Marie Allen, Fairtrade Horsham, was published in West Sussex County Times on 11.3.21

Horsham has been a Fairtrade town since 2005 and we are lucky to have so many shops and cafes which offer Fairtrade products, giving farmers and producers a better deal. Fairtrade Fortnight, which ended on March 8th, had Climate Justice as its theme this year, reflecting the importance of climate change for farmers in the developing world. Many of them are already seeing its impact in droughts, crop disease, floods and heatwaves.

Fairtrade and Climate Justice

Fairtrade means that farmers and producers receive a fair price for their products and that they have safe working conditions. In addition, they receive a Fairtrade premium which they can choose to spend as they see fit. Fairtrade farmers and producers adhere to a set of environmental protection standards and they are encouraged to learn about environmentally friendly practices. Many spend their Fairtrade premium on measures to alleviate the impacts of climate change.

Read more

Why Climate Science is like Forensic Science

One of the best things about Forensic Science is not just that it works with tiny samples, but that the conclusions drawn are very large. One small speck of DNA […]

“World Wildlife Day” Strikes a Chord After 12 Months of Lockdowns

This article was published in the West Sussex County Times on 5th March

It was World Wildlife Day on 3 March.  Set up by the UN and run by CITES to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, the theme this year was Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.

Forests are vitally important in the global fight against climate change. They are also home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and hundreds of millions of people. This World Wildlife Day highlights the livelihoods of communities who rely on forests, especially indigenous peoples, and the value of these ecosystems for both wildlife and humanity.

Read more

Fun family bird spotting

Why not learn your A – Z of Common British Garden Birds   We are all becoming more acquainted with our homes and gardens. We have rediscovered the simple pleasures […]

Encourage Your Kids to Go Outside More

Outdoor playGetting outdoors and learning about nature is an essential part of education. These days, however, many children prefer to spend their free-time cooped up inside with a tablet on their lap and the TV playing in the background. While technology can play an excellent role in a kid’s childhood, they also need time in the great outdoors.

If your kid is more interested in YouTube than wildlife and you want to change that, then here is how.

Grow Your Garden 

Bringing the outdoors close to home is the simple first step to getting your little one more in tune with nature. Create areas in the garden that will interest them, such as a pond, a bird-feeder, or maybe even a treehouse! If you do decide on a treehouse, consider hiring a tree surgeon before installing it.

Children mimic their parents, so you should make a goal to go into the garden more, and your kid will be more likely to follow. If you have the room, you could even give them an entire spot to do whatever they want with (within reason).

Take a Weekly Walk 

Read more

Affordable heat help at hand

SGN Help to Heat advisor

Our Sussex Green Living West Sussex County Times column on 18th February 2021

The Danish word hygge means cosy and charming- an ideal winter word!  However, the winter months can be a worrying time for residents concerned about keeping warm while living in draughty, cold homes knowing their precious heat is simply leaking out and heating the outside air. And with many people working from home or home-schooling, lots of us are facing higher energy bills this year as well.

But help from Sussex Green Living is at hand!

Switching energy supplier or tariff is one of the quickest things we can do to reduce our bills. While we have a bit of time on our hands is a great time to look at energy switching sites like  https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ .

Better still, save money and move to 100% clean renewable energy.  When our Horsham Repair Café is open, we offer a clean energy switching service: https://www.horshamrepaircafe.org.uk/energy-advice/  Everyone we’ve helped has saved between £90 and £366 using this site: https://bigcleanswitch.org/sussexgreen/.

For people on low income there is a scheme called Help to Heat which could help residents and tenants switch to gas central heating by offering a cheaper or free gas connection. Landlords and local authorities can benefit from funding if their tenant applies and is eligible, learn more here https://www.sgn.co.uk/HelptoHeat.

West Sussex Citizens advice have funding available for residents who have concerns about energy bills, suppliers and lots more. The West Sussex helpline is 01243 974063.

Residents can also access LEAP, the Local Energy Advice Service, supported by Horsham District Council. If you’re on a low income, have a health condition made worse by living in a cold home, or are vulnerable in another way, then you could be eligible for free advice and some practical energy saving gadgets. Advice is currently delivered by a friendly telephone call with energy advisers, who can refer you on to other sources of financial help or practical energy saving measures like insulation. You can apply online www.applyforleap.org.uk or via telephone 0800 060 7567

The Government are also currently offering Green Homes Grants. Learn more here https://www.sussexgreenliving.co.uk/green-homes-grants-explained/. People earning less than £30,000 who have a home with low energy efficiency rating (typically E,F or G) can apply online by selecting LAD funding at https://www.warmerhomes.org.uk/

Learn all about this and ask questions at a free AFFORDABLE WARMTH TALK on 24th February 7-8pm using Zoom (from a mobile phone, ipad or computer) https://www.sussexgreenliving.co.uk/events/

We look forward to seeing you there – bring a cuppa to make it hygge occasion!


Feeling inspired to get involved?

We are always looking for volunteers, so get in touch or come and meet us and see how you can get involved! Join us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, or sign up to receive our latest news (it only takes two seconds to add your email address – simply click on black ‘Follow‘ tab on bottom right of this screen!). Feel free to also send us an email using our contact form, or come and say hello at our events like the Horsham Climate Cafe or the Horsham Repair Cafe!

Inspiring sustainable living in Sussex



Help with environmental education needed

The EYE Project is looking for new talent to join their management committee!
They are a growing network of schools in West Sussex focused on supporting and widening children and young people’s participation in environmental education and action. 
This spring they are relaunching their vision, purpose and education programme for 2021/22.  If you think you have the time, energy and skills to help reshape the EYE project to meet the dual challenges of Covid-19 recovery and Climate Emergency please check out their committee vacancies.  
These are exciting opportunities to join our management committee and be part of designing a relaunch of the EYE Project’s vision and programming for schools.

Read more

An economy fit for people and planet

Have you heard about the circular economy or the doughnut economy? It was the focus of the Horsham Climate Cafe presentation on Saturday 6th February 2021. The speaker, an expert […]

History and Hope

We all know what a rubbish year 2020 was and what a bad start to 2021 we have had, but the vaccines are being rolled out and we need to […]

Resilience is key

When the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) died, his last word was aequanimitas (equanimity) Fitting: he was an honest man whose reign was prosperous and peaceful. What’s his relevance? What’s so good about equanimity?

One man who knows is Paul Hannam, who gave a fascinating talk at our Horsham Climate Cafe on Saturday 2nd January.   Paul is an expert on people’s emotional intelligence.  Last autumn he spoke at our Horsham Climate Cafe about the ‘A New Story if humans want to survive and evolve as a species​’, hear his podcast from this event here. As we move into a new year of pandemic meltdown and economic crisis Paul thinks that the key quality to get us through is resilience.  Like the Stoic philosophers Paul defines resilience as a combination of mental toughness, adaptability and equanimity. Read more

Will Covid Be a Catalyst for Greener Aviation?

It is a year since a “new pneumonia” was causing concern in Wuhan: the virus that would come to dominate our lives and make the world finally sit up and […]

Should we pay to breathe?

WE PAY FOR FOOD AND WATER WHY NOT FOR AIR? Every one of us depends on oxygen without ever questioning where it comes from. Almost half the oxygen we breathe […]

How We Can Enjoy the 12 Rs of Christmas

West Sussex County Times our weekly column – 10.12.20 by Karen Park, Horsham Eco Churches

Here’s a chance to think about how we can enjoy a greener, more sustainable Christmas!


Read the full article below.




Read more

West Sussex County Council Pension Divestment Campaign

The West Sussex Local Government Pension Fund is currently responsible for the pension benefits – and future benefits – of thousands of employees (WSCC employees, Local District Council employees, school teachers employed in West Sussex etc).

In 2019 it was known that the pension fund invested approximately £200 million in Fossil Fuel companies (we do not know the exact figure for 2020, although we do know that the share prices for BP, Shell etc have dropped significantly).

The divestment campaign was started in spring 2016 by Worthing Climate Action (WCAN), and asked the WSCC Pension Fund to divest all their funds from fossil fuel companies. In Nov 2017, following a petition, WCAN gave a detailed presentation to the WSCC Pension Committee, and presented strong arguments for divestment.

Various actions took place during 2018 and 2019 which culminated on 15th Feb 2020 with “The Valentine’s Day Divestment Demo” at the Chichester Council Offices (combined with Youth Strike day). This was supported by various environmental groups from around the county.

In early 2020 the CEO of Worthing Borough council wrote to Jeremy Hunt (Chair of WSCC Pensions Committee) asking them to divest. Read more

Have a Planet Friendly Friday!

Black Friday it came from America…..Along with school proms, trick or treat and a host of other ideas. Black Friday, when we must all cooperate to help keep up the profits of large retail corporations, whose own philosophy seems closer to free market dog-eat-dog economics than communitarianism.  Even the most hardened addicts of the shopping habit  must agree that the charms of Black Friday are starting to jade. The wrong lines discounted. Massive ranges of stuff you don’t really want. Vapid special promotions of things you feel they couldn’t give away if it weren’t for all the hype and glitz.

Followers of Sussex Green Living, being a progressive, well-informed lot, will ask: what’s the environmental cost of all this? We’ve found quite an interesting little piece by Lucy Harley McKeown of Yahoo News that makes for sobering reading. We urge you to read the link; but we’ve filleted out a couple of take-aways, just to give you a flavour:

….Black Friday purchases via Amazon alone could result in at least 18,854 tonnes of additional CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.  Delivery service Hermes is predicted to produce the most CO2 from Black Friday deliveries; 58,313 tonnes of CO2, while DPD is also expected to rack up around 42,000 tonnes. Read more

Single use plastic recycling in Billingshurst

We are delighted to be working with BilliGreen an environmental group in Billingshurst in offering our 8th parish single-use plastic drop off location. BilliGreen have agreed a public drop off location in the The Chapel car park, we have supplied some council bins for local people to use to help recycle specific hard to recycle plastics. Sussex Green Living working with a company called TerraCycle have been collecting these waste resources since 2012, our largest drop off locations being the William Penn School in Coolham and the Quaker Meeting House, Worthing Road, Horsham.

BilliGreen’s recycling location is at The Chapel, High Street, Billingshurst, RH14 9QS – the bins are in their car park which can be accessed on foot from the high street or by car via Lakers Meadows near the library. The bins are available 24/7. Local people are able to collect and recycle: Crisp packets and non-meat savoury snack packets, Biscuit, cracker and cake wrappers, Cereal bar and rice cake wrappers, Confectionery such as sweet bags and chocolate bar wrappers, Beauty and personal care products such as pots, lids, pumps and trigger spray heads, roll on/stick deodorant, lip balm containers, lids from sun-care products, Baby food and yoghurt pouches (any brand) and Ella baby snack packets, Cheese packaging (any brand) of sliced cheese protective plastic film, flexible bags, pouches and netting and Plastic milk bottle tops with 2 or 4 printed in a triangle.

Posters showing exactly what can be recycled can be seen here, scroll to the bottom of the page. Read more

MP Christmas card with environmental message

We have a suggestion to help to encourage our Government to increase their amibition on addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency, send a Christmas card to your MP! Wishing them […]