How Do Smoke Control Areas Impact Me?

Solid fuel stoves and fireplaces are gradually becoming more and more popular here in the UK. Many homeowners enjoy the traditional atmosphere that an open fire provides, but some may not be aware that there are rules regarding the burning of fuels in certain areas. To make sure you’re using your solid fuel fireplace efficiently, we’re taking a look at smoke control areas in the UK – what they are, how they affect you and what they mean for your solid fuel stove.

What are smoke control areas?

Smoke control areas are controlled zones throughout the UK where you are not permitted to emit smoke from a chimney. This has a direct impact on anybody who owns a stove or fireplace which burns solid fuel. Smoke control areas exist in order to help cut down on harmful emissions. As such, certain kinds of fuel are not allowed to be burned if you live in a smoke control area.

Who makes the rules?

Since the Clean Air Act 1993, local authorities have been in charge of designating areas as smoke control zones. Local councils can partition entire districts or just certain areas within a district into smoke control areas. Generally, the closer you are to a city or populated urban area, the more likely you are to be in a smoke control area.

Because control is in the hands of local authorities – as opposed to a national ruling body – it’s tough to know exactly what parts of the country fall into a smoke control area. The best way to find out if you are in a smoke control area is to contact your local council and check your address with them.

What fuel can I burn in a smoke control area?


There are strict rules in place concerning what fuels can and can’t be burned in a smoke control area. Only authorised smokeless fuels can be burned, while non-smokeless traditional coal is prohibited, as is wood. Making sure you’re using the right fuel for your stove is vital – you’ll face a hefty fine up to £1000 if you’re found to be breaching the law.

There are many smokeless fuels that you can burn if you live in a smoke control area. This might be natural anthracite or another household smokeless fuel. Coal Merchants UK supply a range of smokeless fuels suitable for stoves and boilers in smoke control areas, and are on hand to advise on the right fuel for your specific requirements.

For a list of authorised fuels in England, you can visit the DEFRA website.

What appliances can I use?

Similar restraints exist when it comes to the type of appliance installed in your home. Multi fuel appliances and traditional stoves and burners must burn authorised fuels. However, there are a list of exempt appliances that can still burn unauthorised fuels in a smoke control area.

These appliances, including some stoves, are allowed to burn wood and other non smokeless fuels. You can find a list of these appliances on the DEFRA website, as well.

Again, it’s important that you use the right appliance and the right fuel for your area. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and only burn the fuel stated by the manufacturer of your appliance. If you need any advice on the kinds of fuel that can be burned in your appliance, the team at Coal Merchants UK are happy to help.

Reputable fuel supplier

If you are in a smoke control area, you need a reputable solid fuel supplier who can provide you with efficient fuel for your appliance. Here at Coal Merchants UK, we supply a wide range of smokeless fuels for use in solid fuel stoves and multi -fuel burners. We can also provide traditional house coal or firewood if you happen to have an exempt appliance.

Coal Merchants UK ensure a professional delivery of solid fuel throughout London, Northampton, Cambridge and beyond. With next day and emergency delivery available, and a variety of smokeless fuels to choose from, we can provide you with the ideal fuel for your appliance and location. For more information and adviceor to arrange a delivery with us, simply get in touch with us today.



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