SMOKE CONTROL

Introduction

The smoke control programme limits the emission of smoke in Worcestershire. Both residential and commercial properties in certain areas are covered by the programme, restricting chimney emissions to exempt appliances and authorised fuels.

Areas which are declared smoke free zones are Worcester City and parts of Kidderminster.

Smoke control areas are not smoke free zones but are specifically concerned with regulating smoke from chimney flues and not, as many people assume, from bonfires.

For information relating to garden bonfires please visit Environmental Protection UK (Legislation - Smoke Control Areas

Which areas are subject to Smoke Control?


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

The first Clean Air Act was introduced in 1956 as a result of one of the worst environmental disasters recorded in this country when in February 1952 over 4000 deaths in a five day period were attributed to a London Smog caused mainly by coal burning in industrial and domestic heating fires.

Kidderminster Area:

A-Z of Street Names covered by the Wyre Forest Smoke Control Area Wyre Forest Smoke Control Area map (shaded areas)

Worcester City:
Further details will be added to this web page in the near future. Please contact us if you have any queries relating to Worcester City.

What fuels may be burned in a Smoke Control Area?

  • 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 such fires.

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.

Authorised smokeless fuels should be available from all reputable coal merchants.

  • Use an exempt heating appliance

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

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.

Exempt and Authorised appliances

  • Gas, Electric, Oil-fired appliances - These are exempt, provided the appliance is smokeless.
  • Open Fires, together with closed room heaters and stoves (other than exempt appliances) - Use smokeless fuel only.

In general, burning wood or coal is an offence in smoke control areas. However, exempt appliances may burn these fuels, but only if used according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Complaints

All complaints and any observations made by officers of the Council of smoke from a chimney are investigated.

The Council prefers to adopt an educational role to help people's understanding of the need for smoke control areas and why it is important for everyone to comply with this legislation. However, where appropriate, the Council will take court action against persons or companies found to be committing an offence and they can be fined up to £1000 if found guilty.

Note that large commercial solid fuel installations have some exemptions from this legislation although excessive smoke from such plant is not permitted.


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Address for Correspondence only

Worcestershire Regulatory Services,

Wyre Forest House
Finepoint Way,
Kidderminster,
Worcestershire
DY11 7WF