At a time of multiple global crises when thousands of people have been thrown into fuel poverty, wood-burning stoves are playing a vital role in helping families survive these troubled times. So, it’s wrong and dangerous for certain newspapers to misrepresent data to blanket criticise a heat source that is helping so many. We agree that updating open fires and old wood-burning stoves will make a massive difference to PM2.5 emissions. However, we ask you to be discerning and take a closer look at the data which reveals that modern ultra-efficient stoves are a big part of that solution.

Our heritage (why we’re passionate about wood-burning stoves)


In 1972, Alfred J Wells and his two sons started a small engineering business in Niton on the Isle of Wight specializing in tractor and machinery repairs. A combination of the 70s oil crisis and the spread of Dutch Elm disease in the UK led the trio to produce a small wood-burning stove as an alternative way to help people heat their homes efficiently.

Our founders were the original environmentalists who knew that responsibly sourced wood is a carbon-neutral fuel that is local, sustainable and reduces the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels. Their cutting-edge stoves were a cleaner and more efficient way to burn than open fires, significantly reducing emissions.

Now in its 50th year, A.J Wells has grown from humble beginnings to making Charnwood a leading global stove brand. We are a proudly British business, sourcing raw materials here in the UK and providing significant local employment. We remain motivated to push innovation well beyond Ecodesign standards and lead industry developments towards manufacturing the most efficient wood-burning stoves possible.

So, is PM 2.5 from wood-burning stoves damaging our health?

Inside the home

PM 2.5, or fine particulate matter, are microscopic particles or droplets present in the air that can be damaging to health when inhaled in sufficient quantity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established that the safe daily average limit for PM 2.5 in the environment should be ≤ 10 µg/m3 (1). As a point of reference, the air in Central London averages between 18-25 µg/m3.

A study conducted in the US in 2019 that featured in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, examined 137 homes and found that the average daily level of PM 2.5 particulates in homes was 6-7 µg/m3 while those with a wood-stove was just a fraction more at 6-8 µg/m (2). A tiny difference that is well within the WHO safe level.

This doesn’t surprise us, as we know that a correctly functioning wood stove draws air, smoke and particulates out of a room and up the chimney. However, best wood-stove practices are vital in achieving these low levels and something that we are passionate about teaching our customers and other wood-stove users alike.

Read more about best-wood stove practices to save you money and reduce emissions!

Outside the home (addressing the HGV scare story)

Data is too often twisted and cherry-picked to bolster a blinkered argument. For example, comparing the emission rates between wood stoves and HGVs has caused much unnecessary concern. Claims that a wood-burning stove is worse than 750 HGVs make a good headline but is shockingly misleading.

Closer inspection reveals that their data excludes brake and engine wear and in fact, just one Euro 6 HGV (let alone 750) produces 13 times more PM2.5 emissions than an Ecodesign wood-burning stove over the course of a week’s real-world use. Furthermore, emissions from HGVs are emitted at ground level (nearer head height) while wood smoke is dispersed more safely, higher up via a chimney flue.

The SIA say, “ The claims are based on simplistic calculations using permitted rates of emission and do not consider either real world use or non-exhaust emissions. Furthermore, these permitted emissions rates rely on vastly differing measurement protocols and techniques. It should also be noted that there are several unreferenced assumptions, and the report does not appear to have been independently peer reviewed.”

Click here to read more

Not all wood-burning is the same

Another common error is to lump in modern efficient stoves with all other forms of domestic wood-burning, including open fires and outdoor bonfires which are far more polluting (3).

However, a high-quality ClearSkies rated stove that is properly installed and serviced and is burning properly seasoned wood fuel, reduces emissions by up to 90% compared with an open fire and by up to 80% compared with older, basic stove models.

Additionally, logs that are sourced from properly managed woodland can be a sustainable practice that works in harmony with our forests. In fact, copsing is key for wildlife proliferation and the future of our woodlands.  

When the UK government released its 2020 figures for PM emissions the data showed that the overall percentage of PM2.5 attributable to domestic indoor burning (including open fires and old stoves) was 17%. More importantly, it showed that modern Ecodesign compliant wood burning stoves were contributing just a tiny 1-2% to emissions. (4)

Trusted Chief Medical Advisor Chris Whitty in his latest report acknowledges this saying, “For air pollution emissions, there is substantial difference between the different open fire and stove designs, the age of the appliance and how well maintained it is, and the moisture content of the wood, for those who want to burn wood.” (5)

Therefore, a far more pragmatic and impactful approach to reducing PM 2.5 levels would be to target the significant percentage from open fires and old stoves by actively encouraging people to switch to the very best modern wood-burning stoves!

Not all stoves are equal either (Ecodesign is just a start)


It’s also important to note that not all Ecodesign wood-burning stoves are the same. The figures above are based on the most basic Ecodesign models on the market. However, ClearSkies 5 rated Charnwood stoves are up to 30% more efficient than standard Ecodesign.

That’s a super clean burn! Yet we continue to innovate and believe we can increase efficiency and reduce emissions even further in the near future. After all, 10 years ago Ecodesign was considered difficult to achieve and here we are already beating that standard – we are excited about the innovations to come.

No pure way to keep warm

The uncomfortable truth is that it’s impossible to remove PM 2.5 completely from our lives and a level of risk must be accepted if we are to function as a society. When you consider that roasting a chicken in the oven or even making toast can produce levels of PM 2.5 in the home far in excess of a wood stove, it helps put things in perspective!

It is also clear that, despite how things may be presented, there is no 100% clean and easy home heating solution. While each option has merits, they also have their limitations and challenges.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have been championed by the government as the leading home heating solution, however, they have high start-up costs while full efficiency during the cold seasons cannot universally be reached. Electricity is required to run the heat pumps, which unless 100% renewable means they are not carbon neutral. Even when renewable energy is used, these energy sources also have their limitations and challenges as we detail below. However a great solution can be heat pumps in conjunction with a wood-burning stove – in fact we do this in our offices – as the heat pump provides background heat with the wood-burning stove topping up the heat for the cold days.

Solar panels

Solar panels are dependent on the sun which means that they cannot be fully relied on. Batteries used to store solar energy require lithium mining, while the manufacturing, installation, transportation, and maintenance of solar panels produce 0.18 pounds of CO2 for every kW hour. Solar panels also have toxic metal components containing cadmium and lead and are hard to recycle. (6)

Wind turbines

Wind turbines can be devastating for birds and other wildlife, while they are also weather dependent meaning a constant supply is impossible. There is also much resistance from individual communities due to how they affect the beauty of the countryside.


Modern nuclear plants are a promising option for cleaner electricity; however, they have a difficult past which means there will always be societal resistance and a level of risk will always be there. They also produce highly toxic waste which requires careful management.

Natural gas

Natural gas is a non-renewable fossil fuel and as global stocks continue to decrease, fracking is increasingly being relied upon. Fracking can be highly damaging to the environment and can contaminate local groundwater supplies. It has been blamed for leaking millions of tons of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide and is also associated with releasing airborne hydrocarbons that can cause health and respiratory issues.

A hybrid co-heating solution that can help unleash other renewables


We are not saying these technologies are all bad, in fact we have made a significant investment in solar panels on our factory roof producing over 1GW of energy to date. We are just pointing out that all energy sources require compromise and tradeoffs. The key is to maximise the benefits while reducing the negatives.

This is what ClearSkies standards achieve. Unlocking all the benefits of wood-burning while keeping emissions to a bare minimum.

A reminder why wood-burning stoves are a vital part of the equation:

-They can produce heat for long periods, unaffected by weather variations

-Allowing them to work in conjunction with wind, solar and other energies helps make these renewable technologies more viable

-They provide energy independence and security

-Are an ideal emergency/low-frequency heat source

-Allow single-room heating rather than heating the whole house/empty rooms

-Responsibly sourced wood is a carbon-neutral fuel as it gives off the same amount of carbon whether it is burnt or decays naturally. The carbon released from burning wood is balanced out by the carbon absorbed by the tree during its lifetime

-Ability to source fuel locally and without fracking, deep-sea oil drilling and excessive transportation

-A good quality stove can last many decades and provide an affordable source of heat for low-income households

-The right to repair. Most components used within a Charnwood stove are modular and can be replaced when or if they wear out, further extending the life of your stove

-Significant well-being benefits have been reported from wood-stove users

We believe that the optimum path forward is a co-energy solution that involves combinations of renewable technologies AND modern efficient wood-burning. When insufficient sun or wind prevents solar panels and turbines from working, an ultra-efficient wood-burning stove is there to provide a reliable source of heat. People can more confidently embrace renewables when they have a wood-burning stove to fill in gaps of supply.

Let’s pull together and collaborate

We understand the general concern with PM 2.5 emissions and welcome stringent regulations, but it is vital we target the appropriate sources. Wood-burning critics are right to point out the issues with open fires, outdoor bonfires and poor-performing stoves. However, we urge you not to muddy the water by targeting modern ultra-efficient stoves along with them – the differences are vast!

We also fully accept that wood-burning best practices and burning appropriate fuel are vital. That is why, on top of the information we continue to share, we are developing a free training program for all our customers as well as anyone who wishes to inform themselves.

A grown-up debate that is nuanced and considers a wider range of factors is essential. Otherwise, we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater and finding ourselves in an even more compromised position regarding our energy security.

We can achieve so much more if we come together, and we urge those of you who resonate with this to help spread a positive message.










Other useful sources of information:


We are looking forward to exhibiting at the Flam’expo Show being held at EUREXPO in Lyon, France from the 21-23 of March 2023. Flam’expo is the leading wood energy event in France and will be a wonderful opportunity to meet many of you and enjoy some time with our French Dealers.

Charnwood will be providing an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated Charnwood Haven (one of the first public viewings in Europe) as well as a great selection of our other modern ultra-efficient stove models.

Read on to get inspired by our fabulous range of wood-burning stoves and bring any questions to our stand!

The Charnwood Haven


There is a real appetite for a contemporary wood-fired range cooker that combines the charm and functionality of a traditional range with the ultra-efficiency of the latest clean burn technology. The feedback we have received so far has been incredible and we can’t wait to hear from our European friends.

The Charnwood Haven is based on the size and dimensions of our iconic Island III model, producing a rated output of 6kW of heat. It comes equipped with a well-sized oven and large hot plate enabling you to cook with a wide array of pots, pans and trivets. The integrated thermometer allows for greater temperature control and cooking accuracy. It’s a surprisingly versatile and delicious way of cooking, allowing you to create soups, stews, roasts, baking and more!

The pictures are beautiful, but we strongly encourage you to come and see it in person – it’s so impressive!

The Cranmore 3 & Stove Pod

The Cranmore 3 is an ultra-efficient 5-star ClearSkies-rated wood-burning stove, demonstrating 86% efficiency on independent tests. This makes it one of the most efficient stoves on the market today. With a 2-5 kW output, it’s the perfect size for most glamping spaces and provides a crystal-clear burn. Easy to operate, with a single air control and removable ashpan, it lends itself to guests that may not have previous wood-burning experience.

The Stove Pod is a freestanding unit that requires no wall attachment. It is incredibly sturdy and features a curved design which directs heat into your space. The steel casing is magnetic, and Charnwood provides tools and cookware that can be attached. The flue support has a convenient warming shelf for plates, pots and pans – perfect for Glamping!

Its available in a matt black hammered powder coat with the option to add a VLAZE vitreous enamel liner for a stylish, easy to clean finish. Again, this is definitely worth seeing in person as photographs can never fully capture the splendor of Vlaze.


We hope you’re suitably inspired! Come along to our stand 2.1H44 to experience all of our wonderful stoves. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be waiting to chat and answer your questions – we hope to see you there!

Find out more here!


The year presented a challenging economic climate, but despite the difficulties faced, we managed to make significant strides and have some enjoyable moments too. Looking back on 2022, we suggest taking a moment to appreciate the small wins; in a year of adversity, they hold even more weight. Keeping this in mind, let’s reflect on some of our business highlights from the year.

Our 50th Birthday


This year saw us celebrate our 50th anniversary and it was truly remarkable to look back and see how much progress we have made over the decades. We marked the occasion with a family day at Moor Farm on the Isle of Wight, which saw everyone at the company come together to share in the celebrations.

It is hard to believe that we have gone from a small Island business to being a global presence in such a relatively short amount of time. We are proud of the accomplishments we have achieved and are filled with anticipation for all that is to come.

A.J Wells & Sons over 50 years in business have established Charnwood as a leading global stove brand and are the UK’s premier vitreous enamellers. Vlaze has also flourished and continues to uphold our commitment to quality design and craftsmanship – a true representation of the best of British.

As we enter 2023, we face many global challenges and A.J Wells will remain true to its core values. Our aim is to foster meaningful connections, improve lives, and create products that delight people. We are lucky enough to be working on projects that excite the whole team, so we’d like to express our gratitude to all who have made the past 50 years so wonderful.

Read more here

The Charnwood Haven


Last year we were thrilled to introduce The Charnwood Haven to our wonderful network of dealers at our Dealer Day event. A new, compact wood-fired range cooker designed for cabins, bothies, off-grid living, and smaller homes. This product is entering a growing market that reflects the dynamic changes around us.

The Haven boasts a good-sized oven and large hotplate, enabling you to cook with a variety of pots, pans, and trivets. The integrated thermometer allows for greater temperature control and precision cooking – it’s incredibly versatile and produces delicious results!

Demand has been beyond even our most optimistic expectations, with a significant waiting list at present, however our tireless team are working hard to meet demand. It is very much worth the wait!

Crossrail Elizabeth Line


The opening of the Elizabeth Line, delivered by Crossrail Ltd, on London’s transport network was met with an outpouring of praise from all quarters. We are honoured to have played such a prominent role in manufacturing and installing much of the signage and cladding across the new line, which will serve as a unique part of our great Monarch Queen Elizabeth’s legacy.

The stunning new stations and modern trains are a major asset to London, connecting employment centers and offering new transportation routes to Essex, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire. Spanning a total of 100 km, it includes 41 stations, 10 of which are brand new. The line is having a significant positive impact on people’s journeys, as well as promoting regeneration in the capital and South East regions.

Read more here

Central House


A.J Wells and Sons manufactured and installed the magnificent vitreous enamel external soffit featured on the sixth floor of The Rowe in Whitechapel, London. This eye-catching, large-scale public artwork was designed by celebrated London-based artist Yinka Ilori.

The vibrant panels of this spectacular piece were incorporated into the six-story building extension crafted by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects for Frasers Property.

The twelve floors of the building are divided in the middle with the upper 6 having been designed to mirror the original building below. These two sections, old and new, are divided by an external terrace that showcases the breathtaking vitreous enamel soffit, making an impression both from the sixth floor and from street level.

Read more here

Poppy Roundels


This year, A.J Wells produced and installed Poppy Roundels across the London transport system as part of TfL’s commitment to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. This year marks TfL’s 10th year of supporting the charity and to draw attention to this cause, a special poppy vinyl overlay was designed to turn existing London landmarks into a reminder of this meaningful campaign.

If you would still like to donate you can do so on the Royal British Legion website.

Green Initiatives


We have continued to seek ways to be greener and remain committed to our net Zero 2050 pledge. We Are please to report that our solar panels have now produced at least 1 GW of energy and there are plans to get more solar panels soon to boost this even further.

This year we have built a new green roof on top of brand-new bike sheds which is encouraging more of our team to leave their cars at home.

Read more here

We have also added QR codes to our packaging linking through to lots of useful information on how to reuse it. We will continue to source the best packaging options available while encouraging our wonderful customers to reuse them where possible.

Read more here

Our green dog initiative, which encourages our team to be more conscious about their choices at work, has focused successfully on reducing printer usage dramatically across the company.

You can read our Net Zero 2050 commitments here. &


We have seen record demand for our Heat Shields this year which has corresponded with record demand for wood-burning stoves as people search for ways to combat the cost-of-living and energy crisis.

Read more about how your stove can help rein in the bills!

Vlaze’s launch in the USA started strongly at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show 2022 in Orlando, Florida where our Vlaze units got a fantastic reception. Vlaze was recognised by the show’s famous ‘Design Hounds’ and received 3 accolades for our Ochre Adapt unit with Fire Magic Grills.

We are exhibiting at KBIS 2023 and have lots of exciting things planned – so watch this space!

Read more here


Finally, everyone connected to A.J Wells, Charnwood and Vlaze would like to wish you all a very happy 2023!