A ban on domestic and commercial wood-burning fires in the highly populated areas of Milan, Brescia, Bergamo and Como came into force on 13 February. So far this year in these areas the levels of Pm10, the fine dangerous dust in the atmosphere, have exceeded the permitted European Union levels on 39 consecutive days. On some days the levels have been three times the danger levels. The Lombardy regional representative for the environment, Domenico Zambetti, has explained that studies show that a domestic wood burning fire pollutes the air 100 times more than a cars diesel engine and 500 times more than a vehicle run on methane or gas.

The only exemption from the ban will be where a wood burning stove is the only form of heating in a house or office, and in pizzerie, although they will soon be asked to install special chimney filters. The ban will remain in place until the end of April .