If you live within the city of Bath, which is a designated Smoke Control Area (SCA) then you are not allowed to burn inherently smokey fuels such as wood and coal. This prohibition relates to an open fire place or a conventional non approved wood burning or multi fuel stove. Properties within Norton Radstock and Keynsham and the surrounding villages are not located within the Smoke Control Area.

If you would like to burn wood and coal then you need to use an approved multifuel or wood burning stove. The approved stoves, known as exempt appliances, have undergone rigorous tests to show that they are capable of operating without emitting visible smoke.

If you wish to use an open fire place or standard wood burning or multi fuel stove within a Smoke Control Area then you will need to purchase an authorised Smokeless fuel.  

For a list of stoves approved for use in a Smoke Control Area, a list of authorised fuels and a map showing the boundary of the SCA please click on the relevant link below:

Exempt Appliances (Approved for use within an SCA)

Authorised Fuels

Map showing the boundary of the SCA

For your information, the SCA was established because of a problem with the level of smoke and sulphur dioxide from domestic "open" fires. SCA were introduced by the former Bath City Council. The first SCA was declared in October 1980 and covered the Oldfield Park and Westmoreland Wards.  A further eight control areas were subsequently introduced over a 14 year period which then covered the whole of the city of Bath.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Smoke Control Area?

A Smoke Control Area is an area, established by a local authority, in which smoke must not be discharged from chimneys.

If my house is in a Smoke Control Area, how will I be affected?

You must ensure that no smoke escapes from your chimneys, otherwise you will be liable to prosecution.  Your options are to burn an authorised solid smokeless fuel or use gas, oil or electricity.

Alternatively, you may use an approved stove that is exempt from Smoke Control Area regulations.

How can I find out if my house is in a Smoke Control Area?

The whole of the City of Bath is in a Smoke Control Area, including Combe Down, Odd Down, Lower Swainswick and Bailbrook.

Properties within Norton Radstock and Keynsham and the surrounding villages are not located within the Smoke Control Area.

To check if you are in a Smoke Control Area visit My Maps and under map categories select Environment, you can then search or zoom to find your location.

What are authorised fuels?

Authorised fuels are products like gas, electricity, anthracite, low volatile steam coals and most of the commercial smokeless fuels.  A current list of approved solid fuel products and services can be found at the UK Smoke Control Areas website.

Am I committing an offence by buying a fuel that is not authorised?

Yes.  Section 20 of the Clean Air Act makes it an offence to acquire any solid fuel other than an authorised fuel for use in a domestic fireplace in a smoke control area, other than in an exempted fireplace.

Where can I find out if my fireplace is exempted?

A current list of exempt appliances can be found at the UK Smoke Control Areas website.

Is there any funding available to help me change my fireplace?

No.  Initially, grants were available to enable people to change their fireplaces, but these finished when all of the control areas were declared in 1994.

Is it acceptable to use wood kindling to help ignite smokeless fuel?

Small amounts of wood kindling can be used in an open fire when burning smokeless fuel to help ignite the fire.

Is visible smoke ever allowed when burning smokeless fuel or when using an approved (exempt) appliance?

Light wispy smoke is acceptable for upto 10 minutes when a fire is first ingnited to allow time for kindling to be burnt off , in the case of open fire place, or for an approved stove to get upto temperature where after it will burn without any visible smoke.

Does living in a Smoke Control Area prevent me from burning garden rubbish?  

It is permissible to burn natural garden waste such as cut branches, but you shall not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.  The Council encourages sustainable disposal of garden waste. For details of how you can dispose of garden rubbish please contact the Council's Waste Management Section on 01225 394041 or visit their Garden Refuse Collection page.

How can I report a smoking chimney?

Please contact Environmental Protection on 01225 477551.

My neighbour is burning rubbish and is causing a nuisance, what can I do?

Smoke from bonfires which causes a nuisance can be an offence.  If you choose to have a bonfire then only burn garden materials or untreated wood. Choose a time when the least nuisance will be caused to neighbours such as when washing has not been hung out.  For further details on what this Service can do to help please telephone 01225 477551.

Does the smoke control legislation apply to boats?

The smoke control legislation only applies to boats in relation to dark smoke (section 44 of the Clean Air Act 1993).  This means visible smoke is permitted from boats unless it is as dark or darker than shade 2 on the Ringleman scale.

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