Guidance for the Public
The following questions and answers provide information and guidance.
- Do I live in a Smoke Control Area?
- What fuels can I burn in my fireplace and can I burn waste wood or garden waste (logs, branches etc) in my wood burning stove?
- How do I complain about smoke nuisance from my neighbour’s chimney or bonfire?
- I have complained about smoke nuisance from my neighbours chimney/bonfire to my Local Authority but I don’t consider they are doing enough or anything about the problem. What options do I now have?
If you feel that your local authority is not fulfilling its duties when investigating your complaint about a statutory nuisance, you should first make a formal complaint to the local authority. You can either ask the local authority how to do this, or speak directly to your councillor. If you are still unhappy with the result when you have been through this procedure, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) who may investigate complaints of 'maladministration' such as bias, delay or incompetence etc. The LGO is unbiased and independent of local or national government, and making a complaint to the LGO does not you cost anything except your time. Its Advice line is available on 0300 061 0614.
- I am interested in purchasing a certain appliance, can you tell me if the appliance is exempt for use in Smoke Control areas
- The appliance I want to buy is not listed as exempt, how can I seek an exemption?
- I have bought an appliance and now find I am in a smoke control area and it is not exempt what should I do?
- Can I open up my fireplace? If so what can I burn in it?
- Can I use kindling or firelighters to start my stove?
Further information on Smoke Control Areas is available in the background information section.
The answers to the most commonly asked questions are provided above. This is the fastest way to find the information you are after. However, if the questions and answers on this page do not fully answer your specific query, then you can contact Defra for information at
Correspondence.Section@defra.gsi.gov.uk or visit the Contact Us page.
If your query is of a technical nature for instance concerning aspects of the exemption or authorisation process then please contact Ricardo-AEA at firstname.lastname@example.org