Smoke control

Smoke control areas

It is an offence to emit smoke from chimneys, open fires, wood burning stoves or from fixed boilers if located in a ‘designated smoke control area’ which covers most urban areas in the borough.

Find out if you live in a designated smoke control area

What can you burn in smoke controlled areas?

When in a control area you can only use authorised fuels such as gas and electricity as stated on the DEFRA website.

or any of the following ‘smokeless’ fuels, unless you’re using an exempt appliance:

  • Anthracite or semi-anthracite,
  • Gas, or
  • low volatile steam coal

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.

IMPORTANT - 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.

Any of these appliances that release smoke through a chimney of a building - for example a summerhouse - can only burn authorised fuel or must be exempt.

Garden bonfires

You’re allowed garden bonfires in smoke control areas but you need to follow the rules on bonfires

Whilst it’s not against the law to have a bonfire at any time it may be illegal to cause a smoke nuisance to others or to produce smoke that is classed as pollution.

We can take action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if they are satisfied that a nuisance has occurred, or is likely to recur.

Useful guides

We all breathe the same air– a guide to the do’s and don’ts of how to use wood burning stoves and open air fires.

The DEFRA guidance to open fires and wood burning

The fine for emitting smoke in designated smoke control areas is £1,000 for each offence.

Report an offence – you can report and smoke related offences to our Environmental Health team by calling 0115 901 3901