Under the Clean Air Act Local Authorities can designate smoke control areas (SCAs).
Within these areas it is an offence to emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney of a building, from a furnace or from any fixed boiler. It is also an offence to acquire “unauthorised fuel” for use within a smoke control area unless it is used in an “exempt” appliance (“exempted” from the controls which generally apply in the smoke control area).
The current maximum level of fine is £1,000 for each offence.
Reading currently has 21 active SCAs. An interactive map is available on the Defra website which allows you to search for specific addresses to see if you are within a smoke control area. You can also access a list of Reading streets that are currently covered by SCAs.
Reading BC are going to consult on introducing a boroughwide SCA, a draft smoke control area document is available to view.
The consultation has now closed and any objections or comments have been passed on to Defra. If there are any further comments or objections please email email@example.com or write to Air Quality and Industrial Emission, Defra, Seacole Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF for Defra to consider further.
Inside a SCA, you can still use outdoor barbecues, chimineas, garden fireplaces or pizza ovens, as long as these appliances do not release smoke through a chimney of a building – for example a summerhouse, otherwise they will only be able to burn authorised fuel or must be exempt.
You are allowed garden bonfires in SCAs, as long as you follow the rules on bonfires described on our Bonfires Page.
More detailed information about the complete changes to SCA legislation can be found on the DEFRA website.
The current maximum level of fine for burning unauthorised fuel or using a non-exempt appliance within a SCA is of £1,000 for each offence.
If you live outside a SCA, you are covered by the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990. Under this act, any smoke emitted from a domestic chimney can be deemed a statutory nuisance if it is prejudicial to health or causing a nuisance.
For the smoke to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:
If you think there is an infringement of SCA legislation in our local area, you can report the problem to us using our online form.
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