The Clean Air Acts
In the 1950s and 1960s, extensive coal burning in both domestic properties and in industrial premises caused thick smogs that were blamed for heavy pollution, ill-health and even premature deaths. The effect was to limit the emissions of dark smoke, grit, dust and fumes to reduce the smog and create ‘smoke control areas’, where the emission of smoke from residential properties was completely banned.
These Acts were later consolidated into the Clean Air Act 1993, which now limits emissions of other pollutants, such as particles, sulphur dioxide, dioxins and furans, which may also be present in the smoke.
Smoke Control Areas
The Clean Air Act allows local authorities to declare certain areas to be smoke control areas, so if you plan on opening up your fireplace to burn fuel in an open grate, or you are considering having a wood burner installed – you must first contact your local authority to find out if you live in a controlled area.
Do I Live in a Smoke-Free Zone?
If you do live in a ‘smoke control area’ you will only be allowed to burn certain approved authorised fuels, unless you choose an appliance or fireplace that is exempt. This means that you will be unable to burn waste woods or timber from household projects, amongst a wide range of other fuels that emit dark smoke or pollutants, as they may have been treated with pesticides or metals.
Exempt Appliances
According to the Clean Air Act 1993 there are many appliances that fall into the exempt category. These appliances will allow you to burn unauthorised fuels only if they have been tested and confirmed capable of burning unauthorised or smoky fuels without emitting smoke or pollutants.
If you do live in a smoke free area, contact your local authority for advice about planning permissions, safety issues and exempt fuels before deciding on the type of fire or appliance you want. Or contact a respected supplier and installer, such as the team at EnviroFlame, who can guide you through all the available options for smoke free areas.
Author Bio
The team at Enviroflame Fireplaces have years of experience advising customers who live in smoke free zones and will be happy to conduct a free home visit to get a better idea of your property, chimney flue and requirements.