Rugby residents warned to use authorised fuels in wood burning stoves

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HOUSEHOLDERS across the borough are being reminded that it is an offence to burn ordinary coal, wood or garden waste in wood burning stoves fitted in designated smoke control areas.

As the cost of heating our homes is increasing, more and more people are investing in wood burning stoves as an alternative form of heating. However, Rugby town centre is designated a ‘smoke control area’ which means it is an offence to burn any fuel in a fireplace unless it is an authorised smokeless fuel or burned in an exempted stove. This applies to any stove or appliance that is vented by a chimney.

The burning of ordinary bituminous coal, wood or garden waste, which are not authorised fuels, create smoke and their use is an offence under the Clear Air Act 1993, which may lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.

Exempted stoves can be used as an alternative to burning authorised fuels. Although specific fuels still have to be used, there is more choice such as being able to burn seasoned wood with certain models. These appliances are however more expensive.

Dunchurch, Long Lawford, Bilton, Newbold and Clifton are also designated smoke control areas. Therefore residents living here should use either authorised fuels or an exempted stove in order to comply with the law.

In areas that are not designated smoke control areas, further legislation means that it is still an offence to cause a smoke nuisance from chimneys.

Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 can be used to establish if smoke from chimneys is causing a statutory nuisance to people living nearby. If justifiable complaints are received, notice could be served on the householder requiring them to abate the nuisance. Failure to comply could lead to legal action being taken in the magistrates’ court where a fine of up to £5000 can be imposed.

For further information regarding authorised fuels and exempted appliances pleases go to www.rugby.gov.uk/smokecontrol . Alternatively you can call Rugby Borough Council’s environmental protection team on 01788 533857 or email ept@rugby.gov.uk.