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How to burn at home safely as winter approaches

open fire in a home hearth

As the colder nights draw in, residents who burn wood or other solid fuels at home are being reminded of ways to do this safely and legally.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is highlighting that burning at home can emit dangerous pollution both inside and outside, known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Fine particulate matter is known to cause serious illnesses, such as asthma, lung cancer, COPD and stroke.

Burning wood also emits more carbon dioxide than oil or gas.

The council is advising residents to check that they are using approved stoves, appliances and fuel to help reduce air pollution inside and outside.

The City of Bath is a designated Smoke Control Area, which means it’s illegal to burn smoky fuels such as wood and coal in an open fireplace or in a non-approved wood burning or multi-fuel stove.

Unless people are using an exempt appliance, they can only burn fuel on the list of authorised fuels from DEFRA, such as anthracite or low volatile steam coal.

A list of exempt appliances from DEFRA can be found here. Only the type of fuel stated by the manufacturer can be used.

Under the Clean Air Act, anyone within the Smoke Control Area not complying with the law could be fined up to £1,000.

Information on financial assistance that may be available to make energy efficiency improvements to your home can be found at

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “As winter draws in and during this cost of living crisis, more people than ever are considering how to heat their homes in the cheapest way they can. However, if done incorrectly, home burning can pose a danger to our health and that of others living nearby.

“If you live inside the Smoke Control Area, please check that you’re using the correct wood burning appliance and the correct fuel inside and outside your home. There’s no proven safe level of PM2.5, so the more we can do to reduce emissions, the less impact we will have on air quality and ultimately our health.

“If you live outside the Smoke Control Area, there are currently no restrictions to what you can burn, but we strongly recommend that you follow the same advice.”

More advice on indoor fires and wood burning can be found on the council’s website here


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