What you need to know about Smoke Control Areas

If you’re deciding on installing a fireplace that burns coal or firewood, then there are a few things you need to check. Smoke Control areas exist around the country to prevent pollution through the burning of fossil fuels. These areas were implemented in an attempt to combat poor health brought about by the toxic fumes from home and industrial fires, in close proximity to neighbourhoods.

Many parts of the UK are now under these strict smoke control laws. If your home is in one of them, then you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning authorised fuels or using exempt appliances such as burners or stoves.

If you are found breaking these rules then you can be fined up to £1000, so knowing the rules – and the fuels that you are burning – are important if you wish to avoid the sting of a hefty fine.

How do I know if my home is in a smoke control zone?

To check if your home is located in a smoke control area, you simply have to contact your local council for clarification. The environmental services department will be able to help you with all enquiries regarding your home fireplace, and they can be contacted by phone, post, or by simply contacting them online.

What Fuels Can I Burn in a smoke control area?

Authorised fuels are organised separately in the countries of the UK. Lists for each country are available online; published by the corresponding council department in accordance with the Clean Air Act 1993.

Unless you are using an exempt appliance, the following ‘smokeless’ fuels are appropriate in smoke control areas:

  • Anthracite
  • Semi-anthracite
  • Gas
  • Low volatile steam coal

If you have a specially adapted fireplace, you can use oil or other liquid fuels. Kindling can sometimes be used but be sure to check with your council as there are different rules for different areas.

If you’re unsure about the fuels you are using, contact your local coal merchants for information on smokeless coal.

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