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Smoke Control Advice

If you wish to complain about smoke from a chimney or bonfire please contact us on 01782 742590.

We are currently unable to provide an emergency call out service to deal with incidents which occur in the evening or at weekends. We will, however, aim to respond during the next working day.

Where are the smoke control areas in Newcastle-under-Lyme?

Most of the built up areas of the borough have been designated as smoke control areas. In summary, the areas affected range from Seabridge in the south to Harriseahead in the north, and from Parksite in the west to the boundary adjoining Stoke-on-Trent to the east. To find out if you are in a smoke control area contact the Council on 01782 742590. Information on the laws relating to smoke control areas and general advice to keep you safe can be found below.

General advice applicable to all areas

Opening of fireplaces and the installation of appliances

You may need building regulations approval to install, replace or alter any type of fuel burning appliance. This is to ensure that the work is done safely, to prevent asphyxiation of the occupants, re-entry of combustion products and ignition of the building.

However, if the building is no more than three storeys and you employ an installer registered with HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) to carry out the work, you will not need to involve the building control service in relation to solid fuel fires.

For further advice regarding the requirements of the building regulations, contact the building control team on 01782 742408 or e-mail: buildingcontrol@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Smoke alarms and chimney safety

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service currently offer free home fire risk checks. This involves firefighters visiting your home and offering fire safety advice for you and your household. They may be able to install your smoke alarm at no cost. Visit Home Fire Risk Check or call 0800 0241 999 for further details.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service also offer advice on preventing chimney fires. Visit Staffordshire Fire and Rescue or call 0800 0241 999.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

When fuels such as coal, wood or oil do not burn properly excess carbon monoxide can be produced. You can't see it, taste it or smell it but Carbon Monoxide can kill without warning in just a few hours. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, feeling tired and sick and difficulty in thinking clearly.

To minimise the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning you must make sure that there is adequate ventilation of the room where the fireplace is located. It is important to maintain fireplaces and to sweep chimneys. Further information is available at Solid Fuel (external link).

Carbon Monoxide detectors must be fitted when any new fireplace is installed and it is recommended that that these detectors are also fitted where there are existing fireplaces.


Smoke control laws do not apply to bonfires. Please see our bonfires page for advice

Inside a smoke control area - what you need to know

What can be burned in a smoke control area?

Any fuels used at premises within a smoke control area, domestic or otherwise, must be an `authorised fuel`. These include inherently smokeless fuels such as gas, electricity and anthracite, together with specified brands of manufactured solid smokeless fuels. These fuels have passed tests to confirm that they are capable of burning in an open fireplace without producing smoke.

The only time that a fuel which is not an authorised fuel may be used is where it is to be burned on an exempt appliance. These are appliances, including certain domestic stoves and industrial heaters, which have been tested to show that they can burn specific unauthorised fuels without producing smoke.

What other controls apply within a smoke control area?

It is an offence to emit smoke from any chimney within a smoke control area unless it can be proven that the smoke has arisen from the use of an authorised fuel.

It is also an offence for any person to obtain an unauthorised fuel, or for a retailer to deliver an unauthorised fuel, for use in a smoke control area unless the fuel was to be used within an exempt appliance.

The penalty for these offences is a fine of up to £1,000.

Outside a smoke control area - what you need to know

Smoke, ash or soot from the chimney must not create a nuisance to  neighbours or other properties in the area. If the Council receives complaints about smoke, soot or ash from your chimney and this is found to be causing a statutory nuisance, then the Council would be required to issue the person responsible with an abatement notice to prevent further nuisance in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

General information on smokeless fuels and appliances designed to burn fuels without creating smoke may be found in our useful links section.

Last updated 5 January 2016

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