Debate over gas patio heaters raised

With the Energy Saving Trust (EST) reporting that ownership of domestic gas-powered patio heaters is set to double from 1.2 million to 2.3 million in the near future, fresh concerns have been voiced over the environmental implications of using such heaters.

The EST estimates that the average patio heater uses as much energy as a gas hob does in six months, emitting 50 kg of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) each year. Furthermore, its research indicated that patios are typically only used for two months of the year – July and August – and then only once or twice a week by two thirds of users.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the EST, said: "We are calling for responsible retailers to re-consider the sale of patio heaters in light of the substantial amount of carbon emissions they produce. Why don't people just wear a jumper?"

The group also criticised the growing use of patio heaters by pubs and restaurants, a trend expected to increase following the smoking ban in public places that came into effect in England at the start of July. It said nearly 60,000 pubs, 25,000 restaurants and many bars and hotels now owned heaters.

At least year, the EST's worries may be somewhat overstated. A new survey from insurance provider Legal & General revealed 67 per cent of households do not plan to buy anything for their garden this year because of all the wet weather.

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