Environmental problems Smoke and fire

Domestic wood burning stoves, fireplaces or oil fired cookers

Under the Clean Air Act, the whole of Manchester has been designated a Smoke Control Area since 1985 - this is to improve local air quality.

Smoke Control Areas, sometimes called smokeless zones, are areas set by local councils where you can’t emit substantial 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 considering 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, only smokeless or authorised fuel is permitted to be burnt. 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.

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