Chimney smoke in smoke control areas

Domestic wood-burning stoves and fireplaces have become more popular in recent years. But many people aren’t aware of the harmful impact they have on our health through poor indoor and outdoor air quality. Rules may also apply to their use, you must determine whether you are in a smoke control area (see below) and ensure that no smoke from your chimney causes a nuisance to any nearby properties.

Stove and fire smoke contains tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM2.5). This pollutant has been identified by the World Health Organization as the most harmful to human health.

Am I in a smoke control area?

Parts of the borough sit within a smoke control area, which is meant to reduce smoke pollution and improve air quality.

Report smoke pollution

If you are being troubled by a neighbour using a wood burning stove in a smoke control area you can report it to us.

Authorised fuels and exempt appliances

To avoid problems with wood burning stoves in smoke control areas, you can either burn smokeless fuels, called ‘authorised fuels’, or have a low emissions wood burner, referred to as an ‘exempt appliance’ installed. Full lists of these are on the UK smoke control areas website (external link).

Smoke control area restrictions

It's an offence to emit smoke from a chimney of a building (including a domestic chimney), furnace or any fixed boiler if it is located in a designated smoke control area.

It's also an offence to acquire unauthorised fuel for use within a smoke control area unless it's used in an exempt appliance. The current maximum level of fine is £1,000 for each offence.

Air Quality Regulations

Restrictions on the sale of firewood, manufactured solid fuels and coal sold for combustion in domestic premises.

The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 (external link) place restrictions on fuel sold for combustion in domestic premises from 01 May 2021:

Smoke produced from wet wood increases the maintenance and repair requirements of an appliance, making it more expensive to run and harder to keep in a safe, effective condition. Only buy retail bags of wood fuel clearly labelled as 'Ready to Burn' (external link) by a certified supplier.

Find out more information about the Air Quality Regulations 2020 and the ‘Ready to burn’ scheme here.

© Wigan Council