In 1956, the parliament of the United Kingdom issued the introduction of The Clean Air Act. It followed the Great Smog of 1952 in London and stayed in effect until 1964. It is an important part of UK history, which attempted to reduce air pollution around much of the country. Here is the lowdown on this crucial public health act…


When the Great Smog fell over the city of London in December, the effects were unimaginable. During a time where very cold weather and windless conditions came together, airborne pollutants were collected which formed a thick layer of smog that sat over the city. It was said that around 4,000 people were estimated to have immediately died, which caused a lot of public concern and worry, with a following 8,000 dying within the weeks and months after. In fact, the fog was so thick that public events and transport had to be stopped.

What Was Done

As the fog contained particles which were mainly from the use of coal, the Clean Air Act introduced smoke control areas in certain towns and cities. In these areas, smokeless fuel were only allowed to be burned in order to try and limit the amount of polluting materials entering the atmosphere.

By having the homes of London and much of the United Kingdom swap out their source of heat, such as coal, for cleaner forms of electricity and gas, sulphur dioxide was also reduced from household fires. In addition to these changes, the relocation of power stations away from major cities as well as increasing the height of chimneys was also implemented.

Although the Clean Air Act helped to clear the Great Smog, meaning that it was repealed in 1964, the use of coal is still a sensitive subject today. Here at Pearson Fuels, we sell an excellent range of smokeless coal which will help combat these environmental issues. Get in contact to find out more!