Due to the clean air act of 1993, many parts of the UK are restricted by smoke control areas. In an effort to reduce pollution, this legislation allows the government to regulate what fuels can and can’t be burned in your home. The rules are strict and those who flout the law can face stiff fines if caught - however there are some exemptions that are important to know about before you purchase any solid fuel this winter.
What is a smoke control area?
A smoke control area is an area where emitting smoke from your chimney is restricted and you may be fined up to £1000 if you are found breaking the rules.
What you can burn in a smoke control area:
Depending on where you live in the UK, there are several authorised fuels that are permitted to be burned in the home. The rules differ slightly between England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland so feel free to check the department for environment & rural affairs page on the topic here:
Most of these authorised fuels can be categorised under ‘smokeless fuels’ by coal merchants like us or products such as;
It is important to note that you may use oil & kindling for specially adapted fireplaces and there are even more exemptions listed below:
Unauthorised solid fuels such as coal or wooden logs, can in fact be burned if your appliance is exempt. The department for environment & rural affairs has a comprehensive list of these. However you must only burn the types of fuel that the manufacturer of your appliance states that are compatible. If your appliance is not listed for an exemption, you can apply for one here:
Outdoor appliances such as; barbecues, clay pizza ovens, fireplaces, chimineas etc may use unauthorised fuel – however if the smoke is produced through a chimney like you may find in a summer house, then the restrictions apply and only authorised fuels may be burned in this case.
Garden bonfires are also permitted, however there are rules and regulations surrounding the use of these also. On this topic, the gov.uk website states that “you may not burn household or garden waste if it will cause pollution or harm other people’s health”
Do I live in a smoke control area?
If you aren’t sure if you live in a smoke control area, contact your local council to be 100% sure that burning certain fuels won’t be breaking the law. If you do, not to worry! Quickfuels has a wide range of smokeless stove fuels that are an ideal substitute to keep you warm throughout the winter.