Smoke Control Areas
Smoke Control Areas (sometimes called Smokeless Zones) are declared by local authorities in order to control the types of fuel that can be burnt on heating appliances in buildings. The aim is to prevent air pollution that affects the environment and can have a serious impact on health. In February 1952 over 4000 people died in a five day period in the London smog attributed mainly to the burning of coal.
What is a smoke controlled area
Only smokeless fuels (gas, electricity, solid smokeless fuels etc.) can be burnt on heating appliances in buildings, unless the particular appliance is exempted by law to burn other fuel.
To find out more about smokeless solid fuels, approved coal merchants, approved heating appliances and general advice about smoke control you may wish to visit the DEFRA's smoke control website.
If smoke is emitted from your chimney because unauthorised fuel is being burnt then the Council may take legal action against you under the Clean Air Act 1993. This could mean a fine of up to £1,000.
Nuisance and Planning Law
Regardless of whether or not you live in a smoke control area, if you intend to install a solid fuel appliance you need to be mindful of the effect the emissions may have on neighbours.
In particular, if the appliance is to be connected to a low level flu / chimney there is a possibility the smoke could cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties. If the chimney is new (or planned as part of a property extension) you may also require planning permission.
You should consider carefully if the smoke from the appliance is likely to cause a nuisance, and speak with your neighbours about your intentions.