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Smoke control areas and existing fireplaces

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by MisterBoy, 20 Oct 2020.

  1. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    I am checking with the council but believe our 1860 house is in a smoke-control zone. Every room still has a fireplace and chimneys are operational - I think only one has been blocked up.

    I'm sure open fires don't meet defra rules but does that mean I cannot use them, or are pre-existing fires exempt?

    I want to get small wood-burner fitted in one room, inside the existing fireplace similar to this rather than construct a new inglenook:
    [​IMG]

    But there are not many stoves small enough, and of those few are defra-approved for smoke control areas.
    Would putting in a new stove and/or flue immediately mean it must be compliant with current rules? I'm guessing yes but just in case the fact it's a functional fireplace already makes a difference, wanted to be certain.
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Burn smokeless fuel.
     
  4. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    I produce my own timber, the whole point of the stove is the fuel is free :)
     
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's not the fire that breaches any zone rules, it's the fuel which is burnt. That's the whole point of smokeless zones.
     
  6. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    I don't think this is correct. You can burn logs in a smoke control area as long as you have a certified stove: https://www.thestoveyard.com/resource-centre-home/what-is-a-defra-approved-stove
    I assume if you burn smokeless fuels you can use any old stove.

    Round here it smells lovely in winter as half the houses still have open coal fires - it's a former coal mining area. Presumably this predates the smoke free area ruling so they're fine. At least for now, I think I read coal is going to be totally banned in the near future. Might have to stockpile for the black market ;)
     
  7. IT Minion

    IT Minion

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    It doesn't matter how long the fireplace has been there, the smoke control area determines what you can and can't do.

    Either you use a fuel source that's allowed, like half decent coal in an open fire, or you need a stove that doesn't generate much smoke and that's on the approved list, which lets you use a wider range of fuels.

    https://www.gov.uk/smoke-control-area-rules
     
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  8. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    That's interesting. I guess I missed the obvious - that all those burning coal "because that's what we always did" are doing so against local rules! We're actually pretty rural so in reality I reckon they maybe only care about the city in terms of compliance. As a former coal mining area, I think EVERY pre-1960 house was designed around coal fires!

    Anyhow we've managed to find a Defra-approved burner so hopefully this is all moot now.
     
  9. JohnD

    JohnD

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    As well as being cleaner, the modern stoves are also more efficient in use of fuel.

    I used to have a small multifuel when I lived in a country cottage, and it would stay in all night, or while I was at work, and I could step it up as soon as I got in. handy for burning kitchen waste and other rubbish (I had to push the bin down the lane).

    Mine also heated the hot-water cylinder, the cost was invisible to me.
     
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  11. IT Minion

    IT Minion

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    The coal might be allowed. Anthracite coal is on the list. But yes, the DEFRA stove will also be fine.
     
  12. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    It doesn't smell very clean whatever they are burning, but maybe that's normal :)
     
  13. clifford1

    clifford1

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    It's surely a combination of the two that counts - ie the appliance and the fuel?
    If you burn old carpets and tyres in a fully-compliant stove then it will belch black smoke and be illegal.
    Or if you burn smokeless fuel or dried logs in an ancient range then it will burn cleanly and be compliant.
     
  14. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    Well, it seems "smokeless" fuel can be burned without any special measures although I'm sure you still have to obey safety regulations.
    If you have a higher rated stove you can burn more things, but as you say there is presumably still some restriction. For instance coal is due to be banned soon, and a ban on selling 'green' (wet) logs too. I don't know how they police it!
     
  15. clifford1

    clifford1

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    Don't all dry logs start off as wet logs, until dried?
     
  16. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    Yes. They're going to (or did already?) ban selling undried logs as fuel, I think. People buy them and burn them and it's very 'dirty'. I have 20% humidity in my head as the limit but I'm not certain.
     
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