I AM surprised to learn from the article in today’s issue (Holyrood urged to ban wood-burning stoves, The National, March 26), that I am the lucky possessor of an “unnecessary and trendy luxury”, namely a wood-burning stove.

I am not usually accused of being in this enviable position, as items thus described are not normally in my ownership.

While most wood-burning stove owners will also have some form of central heating, you will find that these – electric, gas, or, as in my case, oil – operate using fuels which come from large and very expensive sources which many people around Scotland can barely afford, and the wood burner provides a very welcome and much more affordable alternative.

Out here in the real world it is also a fact that in time of severe weather, when heat is vital to survival, a very large area of Scottish countryside is very liable to disruption of the electrical supply due to storm damage. Interruption to the electric supply means that all central heating systems cease to function due to the lack of power to the pumps necessary to circulate the hot water. At times like that, wood-burning stoves can make all the difference between life and death. If such a situation arises one can open room doors and let the heat permeate the rest of one’s house, thereby possibly averting serious life-threatening issues.

The last few “Beast from the East” weeks meant that, in my case, if my oil tank had run empty no help would have been possible due to the fact that the roads were completely impassable.

The activity regarding air pollution needs to make a start with the huge numbers of busses and delivery vehicles which operate solely in our cities, plus the not inconsiderable problem of largely public authority-owned vehicles which are to be seen around the place stationary, but with engines still running.

George M Mitchell

Jim Nisbett and others think that wood-burning stoves should be banned.

I live in an Edwardian house with three wood-burning stoves and two open fires. I also have gas central heating. Even when my system is on full and my radiators hot to touch, I have rooms which are of a size that the central heating provides only background heat.

I am tolerant of the cold, but as in the winter we have just had, I require three to four layers of clothing plus a blanket in order to sit and enjoy the television or just to sit and chat. My house is as fully insulated as it can be.

In the morning we have the stove in the kitchen area working and this heats the entire extension at the rear of the house. In the afternoon as we move into the rear sitting room we light the stove there, which keeps us warm into the evening. This arrangement means that we run the central heating  for about eight hours a day – morning and evening.

In a house like ours, central heating alone is not a viable option.  If I were to be banned from using my stoves, would I also be banned from using my open fires?

Robert Mitchell

I'd heard that woodburners weren't permitted in new-build houses but to ban them outright is crazy and sounds as though it's coming from someone in the Central Belt with lots of choice.

Up here in the north my main source of heat is the Hydro's Total Heating Control with a separate meter for heating. It's still expensive. Like many others I use woodburners to top up, to give me the recommended minimum of 18-21°C in my main living areas of my old stone house.

These aren't a trendy luxury but a means to stay warm without going bankrupt.

Catriona Grigg