Guide to Smoke Control Areas

What are they?

The Clean Air Act 1993 gives local authorities powers to control smoke emissions from industry and domestic properties, which includes burning wood and other solid fuels.

Local authorities may declare the whole or part of the district of the authority to be a smoke control area. It is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney of a building, from a furnace or from any fixed boiler if located in a designated smoke control area. It is also an offence to acquire an unauthorised fuel for use within a smoke control area unless it is used in an “exempt” appliance (“exempted” from the controls which generally apply in the smoke control area). The current maximum level of fine is £1,000 for each offence.

Where are they?

Many parts of the UK are smoke control areas, including most large towns and cities. We install stoves most frequently in the following areas:

  • Medway – smoke control with the exception of the area in and Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham town centres
  • Gravesend - all smoke control
  • Sevenoaks - town centre is smoke control
  • Maidstone - no smoke control

Villages - If you are in one of the outer towns or villages then the likelihood is that you are not in a smoke control area, however always check with your local council to be sure.

You should contact your local council, specifically the environmental services department, to find out if your property falls within a smoke control area.

What does this mean for stove installs?

Exempt appliances
​If you are within a smoke control area you can still have an appliance installed. It must either be on the DEFRA list of exempt appliances, or be able to use fuel from the DEFRA list of approved fuels. If you are in a smoke control area and the appliance you wish to install is an exempt appliance then you may burn any fuel that the manufacturer has stated is suitable for that appliance. DEFRAs list of exempt appliances can be viewed at http://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/appliances.php. This is the definitive list and any appliance claiming to be smoke control exempt but not on this list is not approved and would be treated as such when installing. If you appliance is not exempt and you are in a smoke control area you can still use it, provided you adhere to the approved fuels list below.

Approved fuels
If you are in a smoke control area and the appliance is not an exempt appliance then you must only burn fuel from the DEFRA approved fuel list. This must also be a fuel that the appliance manufacturer has stated is suitable for that appliance. IE you may not install a “wood only” appliance, as stated by the manufacturer, and burn anthracite on it.

DEFRAs list of approved fuels can be viewed at http://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/fuels.php, and the following “smokeless” fuels can also be used:

  • anthracite
  • semi-anthracite
  • gas
  • ​low volatile steam coald

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