How does smoke control legislation affect me?

Smoke control legislation was introduced in the 1950’s and 60’s in an effort to curb smog created by the burning of coal for domestic and industrial use. However, it can sometimes be difficult to understand how those laws translate into modern day living and how smoke control areas can affect you. This article will help to clear up any confusion, so that you understand the guidelines and can safely use your wood burner or multi-fuel stove to heat your home.

smogchimneyWinds of change

In the 1950’s and 60’s, legislation was introduced to combat ever increasing smog across large cities in the UK. As many as 4,000 people were killed in the Great London Smog of 1952 and this prompted swift reforms to combat smoke emissions in urban areas, which came in the form of the Clean Air Act.

Smoke control areas

Air quality is important to everyone and the Clean Air Act allowed for local authorities to set up zones designated as smoke control areas. This made it an offence for anyone to allow smoke emissions from a chimney, unless authorised fuel, or a DEFRA-exempt stoves was being used.


However, this does not mean that if you live in a smoke controlled area that you can’t enjoy the benefits of a wood burning or multi-fuel stove as there are various exceptions to the rule which will permit their use.

DEFRA-exempt stoves

DEFRA approved stoves are exempt from smoke control legislation as they meet strict guidelines which make them less harmful to the environment and less likely to cause congestion in your chimney flue.

You can find a full list of DEFRA approved appliances by clicking here.

Authorized fuels

Smokeless fuels like gas, electricity, low volatile stream coals and anthracites are authorised for use in smoke control areas. So even if your stove is not DEFRA approved you can still operate it as long as you are using the correct kind of smokeless fuel.

Read through a complete list of other commercially available fuels on the DEFRA website here.

Based in Ford, West Sussex, our showroom has over 350 fires and range cookers on display and our highly knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer any queries you might have. To learn more about the benefits of switching to solid fuels read our article here.

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