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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 12:31 GMT
Euro MPs back patio heaters ban
Outdoor heater
MEPs want the European Commission to consider a ban
A call for a ban on outdoor heaters has been backed by the European Parliament.

MEPs voted to endorse a report that says a timetable should be set to phase out patio heaters, as well as standby modes on televisions.

Report author Fiona Hall - a British MEP - says significant steps have to be taken to cut CO2 emissions, and a ban should at least be considered.

But experts disagree about the impact outdoor heaters have on the environment compared with other appliances.

'Very minimal' emissions

A climate change expert commissioned by the UK's biggest supplier of one of the fuels used by patio heaters, liquefied petroleum gas, Calor, said the overall impact of the heaters on emissions was "very minimal".

It's important that we at least look into taking them off the market
Fiona Hall
British Liberal Democrat MEP

Dr Eric Johnson, National Expert Reviewer for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that plasma TVs produced more carbon than patio heaters under normal usage patterns.

But Fiona Hall told the BBC that figures she had seen showed that if a car was run for a year it would emit three tonnes of carbon dioxide, while the figure for an outdoor heater would be four tonnes.

"Many people are already aware that patio heaters produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide," she said.

"It's important that we at least look into taking them off the market."

Standby mode

The report also calls on the European Commission to restrict electrical appliances to a maximum one watt standby, or phase out the standby mode altogether.

The commission already has a timetable for increasing energy efficiency for a wide range of appliances from light bulbs to TV set-top boxes.

Ms Hall said her recommendations would now go to the European Commission, although she realised its priority was to deliver on the energy commitments which it had already agreed.

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