Smoke Control Areas and wood burning stoves

By Julian Patrick

Smoke Control

You need to know if you are in a smoke control area or not as you cannot burn wood if you are (don’t panic there’s a way around it).

There is a link at the foot of this article, to the DEFRA website, where this information can be found. Cities are almost always Smoke Control Areas. DEFRA is an acronym for the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs.

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If you are in a Smoke Control Area then you can only burn authorised fuels (generally just smokeless fuels, although the list is available from DEFRA) and NOT wood.

However, if you install a stove that DEFRA has successfully tested then you will be able to burn “exempt fuels” (fuels exempt from restrictions). Each stove has its own exemptions list but in practice the main one is wood (properly seasoned). In other words: a DEFRA approved stove can burn wood in a smoke control area if wood is on that stove’s exemption list (wood usually is but do check).

Another advantage of a DEFRA approved stove is that it can legally be attached to a 5″ chimney liner, but only if the stove has a 5″ collar and the manufacturer does not insist on a larger diameter (e.g. 6″). In all other circumstances Building Regulations state that a liner must be 6″ minimum (or more if stove manufacturer says so). A 5″ liner can be very desirable, or even necessary, if a chimney requires lining but is very narrow or difficult. There are very few stoves above 6kw with a 5″ collar but plenty of 6kw and under.

As an installer I would say that around 70% of the stoves I now install are DEFRA approved models.

Full details of smoke control areas here: DEFRA Smoke Control Areas

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By Julian Patrick

Julian Patrick is the author of The Stovefitter's Manual and an experienced wood burning stove installer (including solid fuel heating systems).

Laid down tools in 2013 to write The Stove Fitter's Manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut). Launched Stovefitter's Warehouse soon after due to fast growth of sales.

Own stove is a DG Ivar 5.

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Already have a chimney? You need 1. Stove 2. Liner 3. Fitting Pack 4. Chimney closure plate (Hardiebacker board from Builder's merchants or galvanised sheet).That's it!
No chimney? Check out our shed kits or let us design your clip-together chimney design - easy peasy.

Julian Patrick, author of the Stovefitter's Manual

Stovefitter's Warehouse is owned and managed by Julian Patrick, blogger and author of The Stove Fitter's Manual. Julian was previously a full-time installer of wood-burning stoves (including solid fuel heating systems). He laid down the tools in 2013 to write his stove manual and open a small shop in North Wales (the Wood Stove Hut, soon to grow into The Stovefitter's Warehouse).

More info about the company and Julian's team here