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Smoke control areas | What causes air pollution? | Birmingham City Council

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Smoke control areas

Birmingham was designated as a Smoke Control Area in 1995 to improve air quality. As a result of this, residents are only allowed to burn authorised fuels in an open fireplace or an exempt appliance. Burning coal is not permitted in Birmingham.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have recently launched a practical guide on the use of open fires and wood burning stoves. This guide covers advice on fuel use, maintenance of the open fire / stove, choosing the correct appliance, the law around smoke control areas, outdoor burning and the benefits arising from following these steps. This guide may be found on the downloadable leaflet.

In September 2017 the new Woodsure scheme Ready to Burn was launched. This scheme identifies wood fuels that have been seasoned for up to 2 years so as to contain dry wood which produces fewer harmful emissions. A list of certified wood fuel producers who have achieved Ready to Burn status is available on the Woodsure website. The Ready to Burn scheme is supported by HETAS and DEFRA.

More information about Woodsure or Ready to Burn can be found on the downloadable leaflet.

Further advice on how to correctly use a wood burning stove can be found at BurnRight, a national consumer awareness campaign which seeks to address the issue of domestic combustion and unnecessary air pollution. It is particularly concerned with the issues concerning woodburning stoves. The campaign is spearheaded by professional chimney sweeps. Chimney sweeps have unique insight into the causes and solutions regarding this problem. They understand the relationships between the appliance, the fuel and the way the consumer operates their stove. They have the knowledge and the opportunity to make a very positive difference to most consumers burning habits. With BurnRight they now have the tools to help them deliver the right messages.