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Visiting France

Ségolène Royal condemns 'ridiculous' Paris log fire ban

media Hope for the hearth Kirq/Wikimedia Commons

French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal declared on Tuesday that a proposed new ban on using open fireplaces in the Paris region was "excessive".

She vowed to reverse the anti-pollution measure before it comes into force next year.

Authorities in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris and seven counties around it, have issued an order prohibiting the use of such fireplaces from January 1 2015, as an anti-pollution measure.

A further 435 towns and cities will be banned from using open fireplaces, although they will still be allowed to burn wood in clean, closed-combustion fireplaces.

"I will have this decision, which is not sensible, changed," Royal said on France 2 television, adding that the ban was "a bit ridiculous".

The smoke created from wood burning has been proven to contribute to air pollution and to health problems such as asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Paris itself suffers from regular spikes in air pollution. In March, pollution reached a peak forcing authorities to ban half of all cars from the streets and offer free public transport for several days.

However the proposed fireplace ban has sparked anger among residents of the Paris region as well as chimney sweeps.

"I was very surprised, particularly by the figures used," Royal said, referring to the regional environment and energy department's statement that wood burning makes up 23 percent of damaging small particle emissions in the Ile-de-France - the same proportion as vehicles.

In contrast Airparif, which monitors air quality in and around Paris, has said that 39 percent of fine particle emissions come from cars and only four percent from wood burning.

"You have to be a little reasonable. I am not in favour of a society of prohibitions," Royal said.

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