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Smoke Control Areas

Under Section 18 of the Clean Air Act 1993, local authorities can establish Smoke Control Areas within their boundary. Dundee is currently covered by a network of 21 smoke control areas with virtually all of the populated areas within the local authority boundary being within one of these smoke control areas.

You can check whether your property, or any other property within the Dundee City Council local authority boundary, is within a smoke control area, by inserting address details of the property within the search function on the 'Do I live in a Smoke Control Area?' webpage, and then selecting the property from the drop down list.

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney of any building in a smoke control area. It is also an offence to burn solid fuel in a home or other premises unless the fuel is:

  • an ‘authorised’ smokeless fuel' (standard house coal and wood are not authorised fuels); or
  • burnt in an 'exempt appliance'  (an appliance, such as a wood burning stove or multi fuel stove, that has been tested by DEFRA  to ensure it can burn the fuel without emitting excessive smoke) and in compliance with any prescribed conditions on the exemption Order (i.e. installed and operated as per the manufacturer's instructions, use of seasoned dry wood only, maximum moisture content of the wood etc.). If you are installing a new appliance, it is important that  the minimum flue height for the appliance is followed, this is normally contained within the manufacturer's instructions. A height of at least 4.5metres from the outlet of the appliance to the top of the flue is the general rule should the manufacturer's instructions fail to include a minimum height.
    Any new flue for a solid fuel appliance will likely require planning consent as permitted development rights for new flues do not apply within Air Quality Management Areas. Please contact the Planning Division for further information regarding planning consent requirements.

Image of smoking chimneyIn practice this means that in a smoke control area it is illegal to burn house coal or wood in an open fire, although it is legal to burn these in a stove or other appliance that has been approved to burn that fuel.  It is also illegal to deliver any unauthorised solid fuels, eg wood and normal house coal, to any premises in a smoke control area unless the seller can demonstrate that they were aware that the unauthorised solid fuel is to be burnt in an exempt appliance.

Should you wish to report a smoky chimney, you can do this by contacting Neighbourhood Services on the details provided. You can also report a smoky chimney by completing our online smoke report form.

In addition, wood used in an exempted appliance must be appropriate for the appliance while also be safe to burn. Not all wood is suitable for burning. Wood needs to be left to dry (seasoned) before it can be burnt and this may take up to two years. Burning wood that is wet or is from a recently felled tree, can produce a lot of smoke. Wood from carpentry off-cuts, fence panels, or wood furniture may be coated with toxic preservatives such as varnish, creosote or paint, and may release dangerous fumes if burnt.

If the local authority has evidence that the occupier of a home (or a business premises) is breaking the conditions of a smoke control area, the first course of action will normally be to ask them to stop.  Failure to comply with the conditions of smoke control areas may lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Garden bonfires are not covered by smoke control area legislation; more information can be found at the ‘Bonfires and other smoke’ section of this website. Chimineas and barbeques are allowed in smoke control areas. However, consideration to neighbours should be shown by not creating excessive smoke or odour from these as the nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 still apply.

Contact

Neighbourhood Services
3 City Square
Dundee, DD1 3BA

Email: pollution.control@dundeecity.gov.uk
Tel: 01382 433710