Open fires and wood-burning stoves

As part of plans to tackle and improve air quality across the country, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has issued new, practical guidance about using fires and wood burning stoves to help reduce environmental and health impacts. 

Fuel Use 

Consider burning less

Think about why you are lighting your fire, as well as how much fuel you use. Is it necessary? If your house is already warm enough and you don’t need to burn, not burning is the simplest way of reducing your costs and minimising your impact.

Buy ‘Ready to Burn’ fuel

Woodsure Ready to burn logo 200x200If you want to burn immediately look for the logo as a guarantee of good quality dry wood. Visit the Woodsure website to find out more. ‌

Season freshly chopped wood before burning

Wet or unseasoned wood, often sold in nets, is cheaper to buy, but it needs to be seasoned (dried) before burning. Wet wood contains moisture which creates smoke and harmful particulates when burned. This can damage your stove and chimney. It also means you’re losing out on heat for your home.

If you use House coal, use approved smokeless fuels instead

These produce less carbon and smoke compared to house-coal when burned. They also provide more heat so cost less money to heat your home.

Do not burn treated waste wood (eg old furniture) or household rubbish

Treated waste wood can emit harmful fumes and household rubbish may include plastics that can release toxic pollutants, such as arsenic, into your home when burnt.

Maintaining your fire or stove

Regularly maintain and service your stove (eg annually)

This means it will work better and will generate more heat from what you burn. Always operate your stove in line with the manufacturer’s guidance and only burn permitted fuels.

Get your chimney swept regularly (up to twice a year)

During use particulates build up in the chimney reducing the efficiency and increasing the risk of chimney fires. It is better to use a qualified chimney sweep who will be able to advise you on good burning practices for your open fire or stove.

Sticking to these simple rules helps to keep particulates and smoke down and ensure optimum efficiency and safety.

Choose the right appliance 

Defra approved stove 250x400Wood-burning stoves produce much less smoke than open-fires. If you are thinking of buying a stove then consider purchasing one that has been approved for use in smoke control areas by Defra, or an Ecodesign Ready stove.

These have been tested to high standards to demonstrate low smoke emissions.

Stoves which have not undergone these tests do not carry this assurance. ‌

Know the law in Smoke Control Areas

The whole of Derby City is a smoke control area. In this area you can only use authorised smokeless fuels or exempted appliances.

You could face a fine of up to £1,000 if you break the rules. Find out more on the Government website


Contact details

Post address:
Environment and Regulatory Services
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 642020
Minicom: 01332 640666
Environment and Regulatory Services
The Council House
Corporation Street