ISLE of Wight wood-burning stove manufacturer AJ Wells and Sons has welcomed government plans to toughen up pollutions laws.

The proposed legislation has been widely reported as a clampdown on 'middle class' wood burners but managing director Hugh Wells — speaking on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show this week — said the company, and the industry, was keen to reduce air pollution.

Wood burners would not be banned, but new stoves would have to be cleaner and people would be encouraged to burn dry wood.

The sale of wet would could be banned and councils could be given new powers limiting what people can burn, and when.

The government hopes the clean air measures, which include a clampdown on coal-burning and ammonia from farms, will reduce high levels of particle pollution.

Mr Wells said innovation was key to making wood burners more efficient — something AJ Wells had already been working on after the EU announced new rules several years ago.

The company's latest model was its most efficient yet, running at 84 per cent efficiency, and produced less smoke, he said.

Marketing director Ced Wells said cleaner stoves were more expensive to make but the additional cost, partly met by government grants, would not have a detrimental effect on the business.

The company employs around 150 people on the Isle of Wight and wood burning stoves account for around three quarters of its business, in addition to enamel signs and chimney systems.

"We see this as part of the solution, we're all for it. We want our products to be safe and good for the environment, so we welcome regulation," said Ced.

"There are a lot of imported stoves that are not regulated or tested like ours, so this is good for our business. It's good for British jobs and manufacturing."