Smoke from chimneys

All of the Ashfield District is a Smoke Control Area.

Smoke Control Areas are not smoke-free zones, but specifically concern smoke from chimneys not (as many people assume) from bonfires.

The first Clean Air Act was introduced in 1956 as a result of one of the worst environmental disasters recorded in this country. In February 1952, over 4000 deaths in a five-day period were attributed to a London smog caused mainly by coal burning.

The Clean Air Acts, now consolidated in the Clean Air Act 1993, allowed Councils to establish Smoke Control Areas to improve air quality by the burning of cleaner fuels in these areas.

In order to maintain the improvements in air quality that have been achieved over the years by establishing Smoke Control Areas in Ashfield it is important that everyone continues to comply with this legislation.

The burning of fuels on heating appliances in a Smoke Control Area

Clean fuels that should burn without giving rise to smoke such as gas and fuel oil, as well as electric heating, can be used in a Smoke Control Area.

Solid fuels can also be used although, as it is an offence to cause smoke from a chimney in a Smoke Control Area, you should make sure that you:

Use an authorised "smokeless" fuel

These fuels are often referred to as "smokeless fuels" and as they burn with minimum smoke they can be burnt on open grate fires.

Coal and wood are not authorised fuels and should not be burnt on open grates.

Note that other solid fuel heating appliances such as room heaters/closed appliances are often designated to burn specific authorised fuels and examples of these include the Parkray Consort/Chevin, the Charnwood and the Trianco Redfyre. Typical authorised smokeless fuels include Homefire, Phurnacite, Sunbrite and Blazebrite and details of them and their proper use should be available from all reputable coal merchants.

Use an exempt heating appliance

Any coal, wood, or other fuel which is not authorised smokeless fuel, used in a Smoke Control Area must be burnt on an exempt heating appliance.

These appliances are designed to burn off or "eat" their own smoke. Examples that burn coal include "smokeaters" such as the Parkray Coalmaster and the Coalking and Triancomatic boilers. Examples that burn wood include the Clearview Stove or Jotul. Note that the type of coal, wood or other fuel that must be burnt on an exempt heating appliance so that it does not cause smoke is specified by the manufacturer and the manufacturer's recommendations must be followed.

If you are thinking of buying an appliance to burn a fuel that is not an authorised smokeless fuel always check the appliance is exempt for use in a Smoke Control Area.

Note that many closed stoves, cooking ranges and free-standing pot belly stoves are not exempt and only authorised "smokeless" fuels should be burnt on them.

Additional information

Light the heating appliance so as to minimise smoke.

The way in which the fuel is lit must cause minimum smoke. Sticks and paper or firelighters are both accepted methods of lighting solid fuel.

Finally, note it is also an offence for any person or company to obtain or deliver coal, wood or any other fuel which is not authorised smokeless fuel for use on an appliance which is not exempt for use in a Smoke Control Area.

Key points

Open fires:

  •  Smokeless fuel only. Burning wood or coal is an offence

Closed room heaters / stoves (other than exempt appliances)

  •  Smokeless fuel only. Burning wood or coal is an offence

Exempt appliances

  • May burn wood or coal but must be to the manufacturer's recommendation

For more information please contact the Environmental Protection team.