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Smoke control areas


Many parts of County Durham are smoke control areas where it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney, unless you're burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance, eg burners or stoves.

Find out if you live in a smoke control area

It is important to know if you live in a smoke control area as you can be fined up to £1,000 if you break the rules.

  1. The entire area of the former City of Durham Council is a smoke control area
  2. There are no smoke control areas within the former Teesdale Council district
  3. There are no smoke control areas within the former Wear Valley Council district

If your former district is not mentioned above, or you are unsure which former district your address falls in to, please contact us to find out if you live in a smoke control area.

What you can burn in a smoke control area

In a smoke control area you can only burn fuel on the list of authorised fuels, or any of the following 'smokeless' fuels, unless you're using an exempt appliance:

  • anthracite
  • semi-anthracite
  • gas
  • low volatile steam coal

Exempt appliances

Unauthorised fuels, such as wood, can be burnt in exempt appliances such as some boilers, cookers and stoves.

You must only use the types of fuel that the manufacturer advises can be used in the appliance.

Outdoor ovens, burners and barbecues

You can use outdoor barbecues, chimineas, fireplaces or pizza ovens, even in smoke control areas, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause.

Any of these appliances that release smoke through a chimney of a building - eg a summerhouse - can only burn authorised fuel or must be exempt.

Garden bonfires

You're allowed garden bonfires in smoke control areas but you need to follow the rules on bonfires. 

Contact us
Environment, Health and Consumer Protection
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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