Environmental problems Smoke and fire

Domestic wood burning stoves, fireplaces or oil fired cookers

To improve local air quality, the whole of Manchester has been designated a Smoke Control Area since 1985, under the Clean Air Act.

Smoke Control Areas (sometimes called smokeless zones) are areas set by local councils where you can’t emit smoke from a chimney. It's also an offence to 'acquire for use' solid fuel that's not authorised in a Smoke Control Area unless it's for an exempt appliance. People who break these rules can face financial penalties.

If you are thinking of installing an oil or solid fuel burning appliance (such as wood burning stove or oil fired cooker) in Manchester, you must first get confirmation from the supplier that it is an exempt appliance (if the appliance is not exempt, you can only burn smokeless or authorised fuel.) Further controls were introduced in 2021 to control the sale of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood - see here for details.

A practical guide produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is available that provides simple steps to reduce environmental and health impacts from your wood burning stove or open fire. It will also benefit you by maximising the efficiency of your stove/fire and reducing maintenance costs. Advice has also been produced by chimney sweeps on the procedures to follow when lighting a stove to minimise smoke emissions.

More information on air pollution from domestic burning is available at CleanAirGM.

Building Control consent is also required for the installation unless the work is carried out by a member of a Competent Persons Scheme: visit the Government's webpage for a list of authorised installers of combustion appliances.

Greater Manchester Domestic Burning Campaign

If you use an open fire or stove in Manchester during the winter months to stay warm, it is important to know how to burn safely. All stove and fire smoke releases tiny particles that can damage your health and the health of those around you. You can’t always see them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

But if you have to burn this winter, follow the Smoke Control Area rules and always choose fuels that are cleaner to burn. Look for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo on bagged fuel and have a professional clean and maintain your appliance.

There may also be more affordable and greener ways to heat your home than using a log burner or domestic fire.

To find out more about how to reduce the impacts from home burning, and the rules in place to keep you safe, visit: burnbettergm.co.uk 

Was this page helpful?

Fields marked * cannot be left blank

Feedback submitted to us on this form is monitored but you won’t receive a reply. In an emergency, visit our emergency contact details page. Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.