Smoke control areas: the rules
Many parts of the UK are smoke control areas where:
- there’s a limit on how much smoke you can release from a chimney
- you can only burn authorised fuel, unless you use an ‘exempt appliance’
In England you may have to pay a penalty of up to £300 if your local council decides your chimney releases too much smoke.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you burn unauthorised fuel without an exempt appliance.
Find out if you live in a smoke control area
Contact your local council to find out if you live in a smoke control area. The environmental services department will be able to help you.
What you can burn in smoke control areas
In a smoke control area you can only burn fuel on the list of authorised fuels, or any of the following ‘smokeless’ fuels, unless you’re using an exempt appliance:
- low volatile steam coal
Oil and kindling
You can use oil or other liquid fuels in specially designed or adapted fireplaces.
Kindling can sometimes be used but ask your council because there are different rules in different areas.
Exempt appliances that can burn unauthorised fuels
Unauthorised fuels, such as wood, can only be burned in exempt appliances such as some boilers, cookers and stoves.
You must only use the types of fuel that the manufacturer says can be used in the appliance.
Outdoor ovens, burners and barbecues
You can use outdoor barbecues, chimineas, fireplaces or pizza ovens in smoke control areas.
If your appliance uses a chimney on the roof of a building (for example, a summerhouse), you can only burn authorised fuel unless it’s an exempt appliance.
You’re allowed garden bonfires in smoke control areas but you need to follow the rules on bonfires.