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The whole borough of South Ribble is covered by existing Smoke Control Orders.

It is therefore an offence to emit smoke from the chimney of a building that is situated within a designated smoke control area. The current maximum level of fine in respect of an offence is £1000. It is also an offence to deliver an "unauthorised fuel" for use within a designated smoke control area, unless this fuel is to be used on an appliance that has been "exempted" from the controls that generally apply to smoke control areas.

Residents can burn one of the "authorised" solid smokeless fuels on an open fire or stove and these fuels can be readily ignited in a traditional manner, by using a combination of kindling paper and firelighters. Wood is not classed an "authorised"  fuel and must only be burnt on an "exempt " appliance that has been tested and found to be compliant with the provisions of the Clean Air Act 1993.

Prior to the installation of a wood burning stove in a smoke control area it is essential to ensure that:

1.  The appliance is a DEFRA "exempt" stove.
2. The relevant planning permissions have been obtained in respect of the chimney/flue height.
3. The appliance is installed by a HETAS registered installer or alternatively, the installation inspected by a suitably-qualified building inspector to ensure compliance with current building regulations

Details of both the authorised fuels and exempt wood burning stoves can be found on the Defra website here.

In addition, further detailed information regarding the installation, use and operation of solid fuel heating appliances can be gained on the Solid Fuel Association website.

Garden Bonfires

While garden bonfires are not prohibited in a smoke control area, action may be taken by the council if bonfires are used on a regular basis to dispose of garden waste, and they are found to be causing a statutory nuisance.

Residents should  take into account the effect that the smoke may have upon the general air quality, residents of neighbouring properties and also the effect that smoke may have particularly upon asthma sufferers. There are several alternative options that are currently available in the borough to dispose of garden waste, such as the garden refuse recycling scheme (brown bin) or alternatively, utilising the facilities that are provided by the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Schleswig Way.

Dark Smoke

Dark or black smoke emissions are generally produced by burning non-organic manufactured materials and items, in particular those containing carbon, such as:

  • plastics
  • tyres
  • foams
  • treated, impregnated and painted items (windows, doors)
  • glued and bonded items (particle board)
  • paints, resins and thinners
  • bituminous materials (roof felt, roof sealant)

The creation of dark smoke from an industrial or trade premise is an offence under section 1 of The Clean Air Act 1993 and a person found guilty of this offence, shall upon summary conviction be liable to a fine of up to £20,000.

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