Smoke control areas
A smoke control area (SCA) is an area – it can be a few streets or a whole town – in which it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney of a building, furnace or boiler located in it.
Why do we have smoke control areas?
The main purpose of a smoke control area is to reduce air pollution caused by the burning of fuels such as coal and wood on open fires.
The widespread burning of such fuels for domestic heating and industrial processes in the 1950s and 1960s led to smogs - these smogs caused the deaths of hundreds of people across the UK.
To deal with the air pollution which caused the smog, The Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 were introduced and gave local authorities powers to create smoke control areas.
These Acts were later replaced by the Clean Air Act 1993.
What does it mean for me if I live in a smoke control area?
If you live in a smoke control area you cannot burn material which will cause dark smoke to be produced – this can be from any fireplace or appliance which is vented by a chimney. It is an offence and you could be fined up to £1,000.
This does not mean that you cannot have an open fire or log burning stove in your home. There are certain appliances and fuels that you can use, these are known as Exempt Appliances and Authorised Fuels.
These are appliances – ovens, wood burners and stoves – which have passed tests to show that they can burn an unauthorised or naturally smokey solid fuel without producing smoke.
A list of exempt appliances is available on the UK Smoke Control Areas website [linked to website]. This link will open in a new browser window.
These fuels are naturally smokeless materials such as gas, electricity and anthracite as well as other specified brands of manufactured solid smokeless fuels. These fuels have passed tests to show that they can burn in an open fireplace without producing smoke.
Your local coal merchant may be able to provide details about the smokeless fuels they can provide.
A list of authorised fuels is available on the UK Smoke Control Areas website [linked to website]. This link will open in a new browser window.
It is not necessary to use an authorised fuel for an exempt appliance.
Tel: 03451 55 55 50 Contact Public Protection Team (lines open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) online