Stores ban polluting patio heaters

A major retail garden chain has stopped selling 'climate-unfriendly' patio heaters in a move prompted by growing consumer awareness of global warming issues.

Wyevale Garden Centres made the announcement ahead of the Easter weekend, traditionally a peak selling time for gardening retailers because the holiday marks the start of the gardening season.

Wyevale’s news was welcomed by environmental campaigning group Friends of the Earth who said that out of five major retailers Wyevale was the only one who committed to not selling the heaters criticized for their negative impact on climate change.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Craig Bennett said:”We’re delighted that Wyevale has decided to stop selling patio heaters, and urge other retailers to follow suit. Climate change is the biggest threat the planet faces and the responsible thing for companies to do is to stop selling the most polluting products”.

Estimates of the impact that patio heaters have on climate change vary. The Energy Savings Trust has estimated that a propane patio heater with a heat output of 12.5kW will produce around 34.9kg of CO2 before the fuel runs out, after an estimate of 13 hours and an equivalent to the energy required to produce approximately 5,200 cups of tea or 400 cups for every hour of operation, Friends of the Earth says.

Despite the move to stop selling patio heaters, the chain of garden centres – bought last year by a consortium led by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter – saw a 20% sale rise for the firm that has over 100 stores across the UK. Profits are attributed to the weekend’s sunny weather and a revamp in the chain’s gardening range.

Wyevale says that it hopes their move to stop selling outdoor heaters will encourage consumers to using more eco-friendly recyclable-wood burning stoves instead of unsustainable energy sources such as outdoor heaters. The company has also pledged to become carbon-

neutral by 2010.

In a separate move to gain green credentials, electronics retailer Curry’s recently announced that it would phase out the sale of incandescent light bulbs.

Dana Gornitzki

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