About half of Exeter is covered by Smoke Control Areas (shown in blue on this map). Within these areas it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney (this does not include bonfires). There are stoves which have been tested and approved for use in a Smoke Control Area as well as authorised smokeless fuels. Use of these is required within a Smoke Control Area but the operator must also ensure that the fire burns without emitting smoke. A small amount of smoke may occur still occur for example when the fire is first lit. In this situation, an investigating officer would make a determination whether such an emission necessitated further action.
Domestic stoves are very unlikely to need prior approval from Environmental Health (although you may need planning consent or building regulations). Only if the stove will burn over 45.4 kg/hr, or burn any waste might you need environmental approval. Please contact us online (selecting Environmental Health) for further advice if you think this might apply.
We recommend that you follow the advice below to minimise emissions that may cause nuisance to your neighbours, and contribute to harmful air pollution:
- Properly seasoned and dried wood can reduce levels of pollution from a home stove by up to 50%
- Do not burn household rubbish, DEFRA have produced a full list of acceptable fuels and practices
- Independent tests commissioned by the stove industry have shown that an Ecodesign ready stove produces 90% fewer emissions that an open fire and 84% fewer than a stove of ten years ago
- A full Domestic wood burning stove advice sheet is available
Please remember that even if you are following the advice above, if the Council proves that your stove is causing a statutory nuisance, or you are not complying with the requirements of the Smoke Control Area, you may have to stop using it.
Environmental Health can also investigate complaints of smoke, fumes and gases under the remit of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, in terms of proving or disproving the existence of a statutory nuisance. Should a nuisance be proven, the Council has powers to ensure that the problem is reduced.
Further details about the smoke control areas and what you can or cannot burn are available on https://www.gov.uk/smoke-control-area-rules