Smoke Control Area Map
CARE4AIR WARNS ALL SHEFFIELDERS AGAINST UNWITTINGLY BREAKING THE LAW
Care4Air is raising awareness in Sheffield to warn people who own or want to purchase a wood burning stove (also known as a biomass heater) to not unwittingly break the law.
In recent years, interest has grown in using wood for heating as an environmentally friendly and fashionable way of heating homes. Wood is often described as a ‘carbon neutral’ fuel, as the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere when the wood is burned are matched by the amount of carbon dioxide the wood absorbed when it was growing. Many people wanting to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint are opting to use wood as a fuel to heat their homes believing it does no damage to the environment. However, burning wood does have a carbon impact and emissions of air pollutants from a wood fuelled appliance are usually higher than those of a similar gas appliance.
Most of Sheffield was declared smoke free between the 1960s and 1980s to prevent the health and environmental impacts caused by smoke from domestic chimneys. Being a smoke free city means that anybody using a non-approved wood burning stove or non-approved fuel for heating could be committing an offence, which can cost the offender up to £1,000.
Burning waste in a solid fuel appliance can produce very high emissions of pollutants, potentially affecting the health of your own household and that of your neighbours. This includes waste wood which is often treated, and burning this can release highly toxic chemicals into the air. Servicing and maintaining your appliance at least once a year by a qualified engineer, will help you reduce harmful emissions and smoke from your stove.
By the 1980s Sheffield City Council had covered most of the city with Smoke Control Orders with the exception of the rural areas to the northwest. This means that everybody living in the Smoke Control Areas of Sheffield will be committing an offence unless the fuel they use in their biomass heater is an approved smokeless fuel, or their solid fuel appliance has been tested to ensure it can burn ordinary fuels without creating smoke.
Mark Daly, Care4Air Coordinator, said: “Wood and ordinary bituminous coal are not authorised fuels, so if you intend to burn these fuels you need to ensure that you are using an exempt appliance.
“Before you buy a stove please speak to your supplier as they can advise you which appliances are approved for use in the city and you can also check against a list of approved appliances on the internet. Exempt appliances are normally only approved to burn certain types of fuel, and it is therefore important that you only burn the correct fuel for your appliance.”