Smoke control areas
Smoke Control Areas have been designated to cover all of Coventry under Part III of the Clean Air Act 1993.
Under this legislation it is an offence to allow a fireplace including any installed burner/appliance to generate significant amounts of smoke. The penalty for this offence upon successful prosecution is a fine of up to £1000.
Winter warmth: wood burners checklist
- Have the appliance installed by a professional - if you do it yourself then be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Have the chimney checked and swept before installation , installing a liner if necessary (otherwise the fumes won’t go up the chimney properly). Some properties may need Building Regulations approval, depending on the appliances and if works need doing to the chimney.
- Make sure the wood burner is certified for use in the UK. When buying an appliance make sure it is an approved or exempted appliance. This can be checked online at: http://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/appliances.php
- Make sure you burn the manufacturer recommended fuel. This could include wood pellets or well-seasoned, clean, dry fuel. Damp or unseasoned wood will smoke excessively.
- Use a supplier approved under the Woodsure Certification Scheme.
- Go outside regularly and check what is coming out of the chimney. After 10 minutes the smoke should be clear. A fire that is burning brightly without visible smoke is a sign of good combustion. Smouldering fires are the worst polluters because they burn at a temperature too low for efficient combustion.
- Install without checking the chimney first, many chimneys are capped or blocked off if they haven’t been used for years.
- Buy off the internet without checking that the appliance is suitable for use in the UK - what may work in the forests of Scandinavia may not be suited to a terraced house in Coventry!
- Burn pallets, wet or contaminated wood (anything that might have paint or varnish on it could damage the burner and cause dark smoke; this is an offence and could lead to a £1,000 fine).
Fumes and smoke from wood burners can affect people’s health and breathing - those especially at risk are children, pregnant women and the elderly. People with asthma or existing respiratory or chest conditions may be affected as very fine particles can penetrate deep into the lungs.
It is important to know where fuel, logs and wood pellets are being sourced from when considering the eco-credentials of the wood burner. Imported fuels will have a significant environmental impact.