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Smoke from chimneys is generally controlled by Smoke Control Orders, which restrict the types of fuels and fireplaces so that visible smoke is not persistently emitted from the chimney. This is commonly referred to as a "smokeless zone".

The whole of the Dudley borough is designated as a smoke control area. For properties within a smoke control area, combustion appliances must either burn a smokeless fuel such as gas, electricity or an authorised solid smokeless fuel, or the appliance must be an exempted appliance (see exempted appliances below) to allow the burning of other fuels such as wood or coal, etc within a smoke control area.

It is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney, domestic or otherwise, as a result of burning an unauthorised fuel or by using an appliance that is not exempt. This applies to any stove or appliance that is vented by a chimney so it includes greenhouse stoves and heaters. New properties built within smoke control areas are also covered by this legal requirement. A list of current exemptions with details of each appliance and materials and conditions which apply are available from Smoke Control

Authorised solid smokeless fuels

Authorised smokeless fuels for open fires or unauthorised appliances in Smoke Control Areas include Anthracite, Sunbrite, Coalite and Homefire which can be ignited by bottled gas or firelighters. These fuels emit very low quantities of sulphur and 'particles' when burned.

Further information about smokeless fuels and appliances is available on the following link:

Exempted appliances

The Clean Air Act 1993 (section 21) provides powers for the Government to exempt fireplaces, stoves, boilers, etc., from the provisions prohibiting emissions of smoke in Smoke Control Areas and requiring people to burn only authorised smokeless fuels. Some exempted appliances are designed for home heating. Others such as small incinerators and boilers are used in industrial or commercial premises for burning specified materials, including particular types of waste material.

The process of exemption involves manufacturers applying to Defra, the appliances being tested to confirm that they are capable of burning an unauthorised or inherently smoky solid fuel without emitting smoke, and on passing being exempted by Order for general use in smoke control areas in England. A list of current exemptions with details of each appliance and materials and conditions which apply are available from DEFRA website.

General guidance from DEFRA on wood burning can be found here: Open fires and Wood Burning Stoves – a practical guide and Ready to Burn.

For further advice and guidance please contact us. Please ensure that your name and address is included with the submission as we are unable process anonymous complaints. All submissions will be treated in the strictest confidence.