Smokeless Zones, Appliances and Fuels

The whole of the Nottingham City area is subject to Smoke Control Orders under the Clean Air Act 1993. Only fuels and approved appliances may be used in Smoke Control areas ('smokeless zones').

The Clean Air Acts

Smoke and sulphur dioxide from the uncontrolled burning of coal led to the Great Smog of London and smogs in other cities in the UK causing the premature deaths of thousands of people throughout the UK.

The Clean Air Acts and Smoke Control programmes that were introduced following the Great Smog of London in 1952 have been instrumental in reducing levels of sulphur dioxide and smoke and particles, and improving air quality. The Clean Air Act 1993 consolidates the Clean Air Acts 1956 and 1968 and certain related enactments.

The Clean Air Act 1993 - Section 20 states that:-

"If on any day smoke is emitted from a chimney of any building* within a Smoke Control Area, the occupier of that building shall be guilty of an offence". *(This includes garden sheds and greenhouses).

The whole of the Nottingham City area is subject to Smoke Control Orders under the Clean Air Act 1993.  There are 27 areas within the City boundary with Orders dating from 1 December 1960 to 1 October 1991.

Fuels approved for Smoke Control Areas

If you burn any form of solid fuel this affects you. Only authorised smokeless fuel, which can be ignited by bottled gas, firelighters or electric igniters, may be burned in Smoke Control Areas. These fuels have very low quantities of sulphur and 'particles'.

A list of the most common locally available fuels which may be burned in a Smoke Control Area include:- Coalite, Phurnacite, Homefire, Maxibrite, Roomheat, Newflame, Ancit, Sunbrite, Extracite, Gas, Anthracite and Oil.

The burning of ordinary bituminous coal, wood or garden waste, which are not authorised fuels, will create smoke and, therefore, an offence will be committed. An offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 could lead to prosecution resulting in a fine of up to £1000.  Wood is not an authorised fuel, but untreated wood (e.g.logs) can be burnt in appliances that have been approved for burning wood in Smoke Control Areas ('exempt appliances', see below). 

Wood that has been treated with preservatives (e.g. fencing, construction timber) is not permitted because combustion produces smoke and toxic gases.

Appliances approved for Smoke Control Areas

In addition to using smokeless fuel, you should ensure that the appliance being used is an approved (i.e. 'exempt') appliance and is suitable for burning the authorised fuel.

There are certain exempted appliances available, some of which can be used within a Smoke Control Area for burning normally unauthorised fuel, such as coal or wood. These appliances may contain a device for removing smoke particles or may be designed in such a way that they operate without emitting smoke. If you were considering installing such an appliance we would strongly advise you to obtain advice from the supplier to ensure that it is a recognised appliance for use in a Smoke Control Area.

Burning solid fuel applies to the use of any stove or appliance that is vented by a chimney and therefore includes garden, greenhouse and allotment stoves and heaters. Remember that wood is not an authorised fuel unless burnt in an approved (i.e. exempt) appliance.

More information including information on authorised (exempt) appliances is available from Defra UK Smoke Control Areas website and Hetas Ltd.

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