Smoke Control Areas in MK

Clean air act controls

Smoke Control Areas

The Clean Air Act 1993 enables local authorities to designate Smoke Control Areas in which it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney of a building, from a furnace or from any fixed boiler. The only fuels that may be burnt are authorised fuels (e.g. gas, oil, anthracite, Coalite, Homefire etc.) in any appliance or other fuels in a designated 'exempt' appliance. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs authorises fuels or exempts appliances for use in Smoke Control Areas.

Fuels in Smoke Control Areas

It is a requirement that fuels burnt or obtained for use in smoke control areas have been “authorised” in Regulations and that appliances used to burn solid fuel in those areas (other than “authorised” fuels) have been exempted by an Order made and signed by the Secretary of State.

Enforcement of Smoke Control Legislation

The Environment Team in Milton Keynes Council's Regulatory Unit is responsible for enforcing the legislation in the Smoke Control Areas in Milton Keynes (JPG, 330KB).

Even outside smoke control areas the emission of smoke may still be subject to regulatory action by the council if it is classed as a Statutory Nuisance.

Authorised Fuels

Authorised fuels are fuels that are authorised by Statutory Instruments (Regulations) made under the Clean Air Act 1993. These include inherently smokeless fuels such as gas, electricity and anthracite together with specified brands of manufactured solid smokeless fuels. These fuels have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning in an open fireplace without producing smoke.

Exempt appliances

Exempt appliances are appliances (ovens, wood burners and stoves), which have been exempted by Statutory Instruments (Orders) under the Clean Air Act 1993. These have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning an unauthorised or inherently smoky solid fuel without emitting smoke.

The Burning of Fuels in a Smoke Control Area

For open fires, closed room heaters and stoves, only smokeless fuel is permitted. Using coal or wood or both is not allowed. However, "smoke eating" appliances that do burn wood or coal are allowed. Gas and electric are smokeless and exempt.

Buying and selling solid fuel

In a Smoke Control Area it is an offence to obtain or deliver coal, wood or any other fuel that is not an authorised smokeless fuel for use on an appliance that is not exempted for use in a smoke control area.

Smoke from bonfires or chimneys outside Smoke Control Areas

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides that smoke emitted from premises anywhere, inside or outside Smoke Control Areas, can be a Statutory Nuisance if it interferes substantially with a person’s well-being, comfort and enjoyment of their property or is a threat to human health. Such smoke might include smoke from a chimney, a bonfire, a barbeque, etc.

Smoke from businesses

The Clean Air Act 1993, makes it an offence to emit dark smoke from any trade or industrial premises or to burn anything that is likely to produce dark smoke.

For further information contact The Environment Team.

Last Updated: 30 November 2017