Smoke

This page provides information about the rules for domestic premises and industrial smoke control.

Domestic smoke control

Brushing the soot off green houses in Buile Hill Park

What can we deal with?

  • Smoke from chimneys when the appliance or fuel being burnt is not exempt from the Clean Air Act requirements
  • Persistent bonfires

What legislation does the council use?

What can’t we deal with?

  • Occasional garden bonfires where clean wood and garden waste are being burned.
  • Smoke from a domestic chimney, where the fuel being burnt is smokeless (authorised) or the appliance has been exempted from the Clean Air Act’s requirements.

Further advice

So you fancy a solid fuel fire?

For those of you who are thinking of using solid fuel to heat your home, there are a few things you need to consider:

  1. Salford - smoke control areas

Wood and coal burning appliances contribute to particulate matter and other pollutant emissions. Evidence suggests that emissions of very fine particles (PM10 and smaller) from soot and smoke can have detrimental effects on health, by getting into the lungs and blood and being transported around the body. 

The majority of Salford is a Smoke Control Area. Smoke Control Areas were introduced in the 1960s to phase out the burning of solid fuel on domestic appliances and improve air quality. 

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, this means that only smokeless and ‘authorised fuels’ or ‘exempt appliances’ can be used. It is an offence to emit smoke from a domestic chimney using an open grate or non-exempt appliance unless it is as a result of burning a smokeless or ‘authorised fuel’. The legislation does still permit the burning of solid fuels such as wood and coal in Salford but only in an 'exempt appliance', see below.

  1. Exempt appliances

Appliances are exempt after they have undergone approved testing and appear on a published list to prove that they can operate without causing excessive smoke. Most exempt wood burners are only permitted to burn clean, untreated and dry wood. Before investing in a wood burning stove, check that it is an exempt appliance and the fuel that it is permitted to be used with – only this fuel can be used. 

Building Control consent is also necessary for installing a solid fuel burner, unless the work is carried out by a member of a Competent Persons Scheme e.g. a HETAS Registered Installer. Further information is available from the HETAS website

Did you know? 

A stove with the 'Ecodesign Ready' label produces 90% fewer emissions than an open fire and 84% fewer emissions than an older stove.

Properly seasoned and dried wood can reduce levels of pollution from a home stove by up to 50%. Burning wet wood increases emissions and has a greater impact on air quality. Smoke produced from wet wood increases the maintenance and repair requirements of an appliance, making it more expensive to run and harder to keep in a safe, effective condition. Look out for retail bags of wood fuel clearly labelled as 'Ready to Burn' by a Woodsure Certified Supplier.

  1. Smokeless and ‘authorised’ fuels

Inherently smokeless fuels are anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas and low volatile steam coal. 

Fuels are authorised after they have undergone approved testing and appear on a published list to prove that they can be burned without causing excessive smoke. 

For further guidance on smoke control areas, smokeless fuels and exempt appliances please go to the DEFRA website.

If you either burn the incorrect fuel on your exempt appliance or burn a non-authorised fuel in a Smoke Control Area that emits smoke from your chimney, you will be guilty of an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 and upon conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding level three - currently £1,000.

Bonfires

Domestic bonfires

Domestic bonfires, chimineas and smoky barbecues can be very irritating to the occupiers of surrounding premises. The smoke and smell may prevent your neighbours hanging out washing, opening windows and the using their outdoor areas. 

It is not unreasonable to have an occasional barbecue, or to occasionally burn wood or garden waste on a bonfire. But if you have fires regularly, they may constitute a statutory nuisance and you could be subject to formal action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If you must have a bonfire, never burn any toxic items such as painted wood, plastics, etc. These items can be disposed of at your local recycling centre or we can collect bulky items.

Avoid burning at weekends, bank holidays and when smoke may be blown into neighbour’s gardens. Only burn dry material and don't leave a fire unattended or smouldering. Do not allow the smoke to drift across a road or endanger traffic. Such a matter would be dealt with by the police.

Industrial

Plant and equipment

Plant and equipment that is operational in Salford needs to meet the provisions of the Clean Air Act 1993. This Act prohibits (subject to some exemptions) the emission of dark and black smoke from chimneys serving industrial plant and boilers.

Notification and chimney height approval

Before installing a furnace in an industrial or commercial building, you must inform the local authority. Such furnaces also require approval of the chimney height and installation of grit and dust arrestment equipment from the local authority if the furnace is burning pulverised fuel, burning at a rate of 45.4 kilograms per hour or at a rate equivalent to 366.4 kilowatts per hour.

The furnace must be capable of operating continuously, without emitting dark smoke, when burning fuel for which it was designed.

If you are planning to install an industrial furnace, please complete the 'report it' form.

Exempt appliances

In addition, the majority of Salford is a Smoke Control Area and as such, it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney, unless the smoke is caused by the use of an 'authorised fuel' which is listed in regulations.

Appliances that can be used within a Smoke Control Area have undergone approved testing and appear on a published list to prove that they can operate without causing excessive smoke. It is important to note, that although you may be using an exempt appliance, to ensure compliance you must also burn the fuel for which it has been exempted and in the manner described.

However there is other legislation, such as the Environmental Permitting Regulations that needs to be taken into account if you intend to burn waste. Further guidance can be obtained from the DEFRA website.

Bonfires

Bonfire

In addition, it is an offence, subject to certain exemptions, to emit dark smoke from industrial or trade premises. This would include any premises which are being used for a trade and includes domestic premises where work is being undertaken.

Unless proved otherwise, an emission of dark smoke is deemed to have taken place if there is evidence that material has been burned that would be likely to emit dark smoke. This means that action can be taken for night time burnings of for example, tyres. An offence under this section of the act may result in a fine.

Find out how to report this online

For advice about our procedures and the legislation we use please see our frequently asked questions page

This page was last updated on 24 October 2017

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