There seems to be lots of misinformation floating around with respect to the use of stoves and the type of fuels that they can burn even to the point of can they be used at all. Hopefully we can clarify what you need to know and set your mind at rest.
According to Defra:
“We are not considering banning domestic burning. The government recognises that households have installed wood-burning stoves and the government is not seeking to prevent their use or installation.”
The most important thing to know is that you can have a wood burning or multi fuel stove anywhere in England & Wales. In order to do that you must meet the legal requirements set out by Defra and that’s not difficult or expensive to do.
What if I live in a Smoke Control Area?
If you live in a town or city it’s possible that you are in what is designated as a Smoke Control Area. The important thing here is that you can have a stove but you need to burn the right fuel for your appliance. So if you wish to burn wood the stove must be Defra approved of which there are loads to choose. Approved models and the fuels they can burn are listed on the Defra website (https://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/appliances.php). If you wish to burn coal then you must burn an approved smokeless fuel and there are loads of these to choose from too.
What is a DEFRA approved stove?
Essentially the stove has been modified to ensure that there is sufficient air for combustion to meet the requirements of the “Clean Air Act” set out by Defra. Some existing stoves can be retrofitted to ensure that they meet this requirement. This prevents damping the fire down to a point where the fire can no longer burn efficiently.
What happens if your stove isn’t Defra approved but live in a restricted area. If you can’t retrofit an approved upgrade kit to your stove there are two options one is only burn smokeless coal not wood or change your stove.
How do I Find out if I live in a Smoke Control Area?
A quick search on your local government website will show if you’re in a designated area.
What happens if I just ignore the Smoke Control Area regulations?
If you choose to ignore the local by laws then you could be liable for a fine
of up to £1000. That’s you not the supplier or installer.
What can I burn in a Smoke Control Area?
Wood above 20% moisture is not considered to be smokeless in any situation. This is problematic in many ways and has led wrongly to much speculation about log burners. Most people eventually figure out that this is a waste of time and money.
Wood below 20% moisture, burnt on a Defra approved stove is classed as smokeless
This doesn’t meet the requirement even if the moisture content is below 20%
Actually there are way too many to list so apart from anthracite which is classed as a naturally occurring smokeless fuel your local coal merchant is the best source for some good advice along with information on what they stock. You can burn this on any multi fuel stove.
This doesn’t meet the requirements even if its being burnt on a Defra approved multi fuel stove.
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