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Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Smoke control areas – what you need to know

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In smoke control areas, you are restricted in the types of fuel you can burn and the appliances you can use to reduce air pollution. Here are the key points:

  1. You must use approved fuel

Only smokeless fuels are permitted in smoke control areas. These include certain types of coal and wood products that have been treated to reduce their smoke emissions. Examples include anthracite coal, some low-smoke manufactured solid fuels, and seasoned wood with low moisture content, such as kiln dried logs.

Kiln dried logs are beneficial, especially in smoke control areas, for several reasons:

Lower Moisture Content: Kiln drying significantly reduces the moisture content of the logs, usually to below 20%. This is much lower than that of freshly cut wood, which can have a moisture content upwards of 50%. The lower the moisture content, the more efficiently the wood burns.

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Cleaner Burning: Because of their low moisture content, kiln dried logs burn more cleanly. They produce less smoke and fewer particulates compared to logs that haven’t been dried. This is particularly important in smoke control areas where reducing air pollution is a priority.

Higher Heat Output: Kiln dried logs burn at a higher temperature due to their low moisture content. This means they produce more heat per log, making them more efficient as a heat source.

Less Tar and Creosote Buildup: Burning wet or green wood can lead to a buildup of tar and creosote in the chimney, which are both fire hazards and can lead to inefficient stove operation. Kiln dried logs significantly reduce this risk because they burn more completely and cleanly.

Easier to Light and Maintain: Due to their dryness, kiln dried logs are easier to light and maintain in a fire. They also tend to produce a more consistent burn, making them user-friendly, especially for those not as experienced with wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

Environmental Benefits: Efficient burning means less wood is needed to produce the same amount of heat, which can be better for the environment in terms of resource use.

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  1. You must use an approved appliance

You need to use an “exempt” appliance that is designed to burn smokeless fuels efficiently and with reduced emissions. These stoves and appliances are tested and approved for use in smoke control areas. They include certain models of wood-burning stoves, multi-fuel stoves, pellet stoves, and boilers. The appliance must be installed and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it operates within the legal limits for emissions.

Having an approved appliance in a smoke control area is important for several reasons:

Reduced Emissions: Approved appliances are designed to burn fuel more efficiently and cleanly, reducing the amount of smoke and harmful pollutants released into the air. This is crucial in smoke control areas, where the goal is to minimize air pollution and its associated health risks.

Compliance with Regulations: In smoke control areas, using an approved appliance ensures compliance with local laws and regulations. Non-compliance, such as using non-approved stoves or burning unauthorized fuels, can result in substantial fines.

Better Fuel Efficiency: These appliances often have better fuel efficiency, meaning they use less fuel to produce the same amount of heat. This can be more economical in the long run and also reduces the overall consumption of fuel resources.

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Improved Air Quality: By reducing the emission of smoke and particulates, approved appliances contribute to improved air quality in the local environment. This is beneficial for public health, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions.

Enhanced Safety: Approved appliances are tested for safety standards, reducing the risk of fire hazards associated with inefficient or poorly designed stoves.

Potential for Incentives: In some areas, using approved, environmentally-friendly appliances can qualify homeowners for incentives or grants, especially when replacing older, less efficient models.

Overall, using an approved appliance in a smoke control area is a responsible choice that benefits both the environment and the health of the community, while also ensuring compliance with local regulations.

3. Potential Fines: In Gedling, the rules and fines for smoke control areas are as follows:

(a) Standard Fine for Emitting Smoke 

The fine for emitting smoke in designated smoke control areas in Gedling is set at £1,000 for each offense.

b) Initial and Repeat Offender Fines 

Gedling Borough Council officers have the authority to issue a financial penalty ranging from £175 to £300 when they witness the emission of smoke from a chimney. This applies regardless of the appliance being used or the type of fuel. If offenders are found breaching these rules, an initial fine of £175 can be imposed, which increases to £300 for repeat offenders.

(c) Reinforcement of Wood-Burning Rules 

Additionally, there are new wood-burning rules that could lead to Gedling borough households facing a £1,000 fine. This is part of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service’s effort to reinforce the ‘smoke controlled’ area guidelines.

These rules and fines are in place to ensure compliance with smoke control regulations, aiming to reduce air pollution and protect public health in smoke control areas. It’s important for residents to be aware of these regulations to avoid penalties and contribute to a cleaner environment.

It’s always a good practice to consult with local authorities or check official government websites for the most up-to-date and specific information regarding smoke control areas in your location.

Spotted something? Got a story? Email our newsdesk news@gedlingeye.co.uk

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