Renfrewshire Council

Smoke control areas

The Clean Air Acts were introduced to address the smog conditions associated with the burning of coal and wood in the mid 20th century.

Under the current Clean Air Act 1993, a local authority can declare all, or parts, of their district a 'smoke control area'. These are areas where the emissions of smoke from a chimney of any building (including houses), or a chimney serving the furnace of any fixed boiler or industrial plant is prohibited.

Approximately 90% of homes and businesses in Renfrewshire fall within a smoke control area. To find out if your property is included, click on the "Environmental Designations Map" in the related articles section of this page.  (Once open, select "Smoke Control Zone" option).

If you live within a smoke control area you're not allowed to burn ordinary coal and wood on an open fireplace. Instead you will have to burn an authorised solid smokeless fuel which is a fuel that has passed tests to confirm it can be burned in a fireplace without producing smoke.

Alternatively there are exempted fireplaces, wood burners and stoves which have been approved for use in smoke control areas. These exempt appliances have passed tests to confirm that they can burn certain types of fuel without producing smoke.

Authorised fuels and exempt appliances are only suitable when used according to manufacturer's instructions. If you intend to install an exempt fireplace, wood burner or stove you must ensure you only use the type of fuel stipulated for use with the appliance. If you use a different type of fuel then smoke may be released by the appliance. Your supplier should be able to advise you further on this. It is also an offence to sell or obtain unauthorised fuel for use within a smoke control area unless it is for use in an 'exempt' fireplace. To view a list of exempt appliances and authorised fuels, please go to the Defra website.

Renfrewshire Council's Community Resources enforce legal controls on air pollution in Renfrewshire. Any one committing an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 may be reported to the procurator fiscal and prosecuted.

If you do not live within a smoke control area you are not required to use an authorised fuel or an exempt appliance. However, please be aware that complaints of smoke from domestic premises out with a smoke control area can be investigated in terms of the Statutory Nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Such complaints are becoming more common with the increased uptake of wood burning fireplaces and stoves.

Community Resources also investigate other sources of air pollution such as smoke from bonfires, unpleasant odours, grit and dust.

The majority of industrial premises which emit air pollutants are regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). If you are concerned about air pollution from an industrial source, please contact SEPA or see the Scottish Government air quality pages for further information.