Smoke control areas

Smoke Control Areas

Local authorities are able to declare ‘smoke control areas’ in order to improve air quality.

In East Staffordshire, most of Burton upon Trent has been declared a smoke control area.  Please contact Environmental Health to enquire whether a specific address is within the smoke control area.

In these areas it is an offence for the occupier of a building to allow smoke emission from a chimney unless it is produced by an ‘authorised fuel’, although it is recognised that there may be times when certain of these fuels may cause periods of light smoke emission. It should be noted that coal, oil and wood are not authorised fuels.

When complaints of this nature are received officers will attempt to witness the nuisance, where this is not possible the Statutory Nuisance procedure is followed to gain the necessary evidence.  Any appliance and chimney system will suffer from smoke produced from wet wood, view this leaflet on the 'Ready to Burn' scheme for further information.

However, there are certain fireplaces exempt from these restrictions, please contact the pollution team for further information, or visit GOV.UK where a full list of authorised fuels and exempted fireplaces can be found.

DEFRA: Smoke Control Areas - Do you know the rules?

Open fires and Solid Fuel Stoves

The use of open fires and solid-fuel stoves has risen in popularity over recent years with domestic wood and coal burning now the single largest contributor to particulate emissions, comprising almost 40% in 2015. This compares to emissions from industrial combustion (17%) and road transport (13%). The tiny particles in smoke can cause a range of health impacts such as breathing problems and exacerbating asthma as well as contributing to other health conditions.

The 'Ready to Burn' scheme was launched by Woodsure in 2017, which promotes the sale and use of good quality dry wood, which has lower emissions than wet wood. This followed on from the launch of the Stove industry Alliance 'Ecodesign ready' scheme in February, which enables consumers to identify stoves tested to the high emission standards of the Ecodesign Directive due to be introduced in 2022. Further information on these two schemes can be found using the links below, in addition to a practical guide produced by the chimney sweeps association providing advice and guidance if using wood-burning stoves or open fires whether you are in a Smoke Control Area or not. In April 2018, the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps launched the 'Burn Right' campaign. This provides good practice guidance on using your fire.

Wood pellets used in biomass boilers are covered by the ENplus certification scheme; further details are found below.