With the Autumn now with us, we would like to remind residents that the whole of Havering is a Smoke Control Area. This means that any household using solid fuels must ensure that they use an authorised smokeless fuel and/or exempt appliance. It is not permitted to burn wood and coal in an open fireplace.

Although the air is far cleaner now than it was in the years after the Second World War, in recent years pollution from log burners has increased dramatically. Only 8% of households use them, but they are now the biggest source of the tiny pollution particles that are most damaging to health, according to government data.

A new law in England also restricts the sale of house coal and wet wood –

  • Selling bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in small units (less than 2m cube) is now unlawful
  • Wet wood in volumes greater than 2m cube has to be sold with advice on how to dry it before burning
  • Makers of solid fuels need to show they have a very low sulphur content and only emit a small amount of smoke

Smoke Control Areas only restrict domestic burning and do not cover bonfires or the burning of waste. However, Havering Council state that ‘You must never burn household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic, foam or paint. If you burn rubbish that causes a nuisance, we may issue an ‘abatement notice’ and ask you to pay a fine. Smoke from a bonfire may be harmful to your health and others or become a nuisance.’