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Smoke Control

Date updated: 11/08/2023

Smoke Control Area

The City of London is a Smoke Control Area.

In a Smoke Control Area it is an offence to emit smoke from the chimney of a building, a furnace or any fixed boiler. The penalty for emitting smoke from a chimney in a smoke control area can be up to £300.

It is an offence to buy or sell an 'unauthorised fuel' for use in a smoke control area unless it is used in an 'exempt' appliance. The maximum fine is £1000.

If it is an 'exempt' appliance, the fuel used must be the fuel specified for it. You can be fined up to £1000 if you burn unauthorised fuel without an exempt appliance.

For more information see Smoke Control Areas.

Selling wood and manufactured solid fuels for domestic use in England

There are restrictions on the sale of wet wood and manufactured solids fuel for domestic burning in England.

Small volumes of wood can only be supplied or sold if certified as ‘Ready to Burn’. This confirms it has a moisture content of 20% or less. Sellers must ensure the approved ‘Ready to Burn’ logo, supplier’s company name and certification number are either attached to the wood packaging, displayed alongside it on the shelf or next to the price.

Standards and smoke emission limits apply to all manufactured solid fuels (which can be a mixture of coal, wood, waxes, plant matter and so on mixed with other materials). These must contain less than 2% sulphur and have smoke emissions of less than 5 g/hour when tested. These fuels need to display the Ready to Burn logo along with the certification number and company name on the fuel packaging.

Sellers and suppliers not adhering to these rules are liable to fines of £300 or more. This is in addition to the rules in Smoke Control Areas which require fuels to either be authorised (known as 'controlled fuels') or burnt in an exempt (known as 'approved') appliance.

Retailers must inform customers that in a smoke control area they cannot use olive logs, wine logs or fuels which are mostly made of wheat husks, straw, micanthus, bamboo or compressed food waste.

If you use an open fire, stove, or other wood or coal burning appliance in the City of London, read this practical guide: Defra: Smoke Control Areas: Do you know the rules? pdf

Restaurant grills and log burning ovens

Charcoal grills are not listed as exempt appliances. Ensure you use an authorised fuel, not all charcoal is authorised.

Gas fired or electric grills are permitted.


An appliance producing cooking fumes must be appropriately ventilated to the outside air. Appropriate ventilation is ventilation which doesn’t cause a nuisance to neighbours; this generally means filtered mechanical extract ventilation with an outlet at high level.

Read the short guide on the law and responsibilities covering smoke control for restaurants.

Smoke Control Guide for Restaurants PDF (340KB)
Date submitted: 4/08/20
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