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Council given go-ahead for borough-wide smoke control area

  • A smoke control area will cover all of Reading borough from 1 December
  • Expanded scheme will help improve air quality and protect residents’ health

A borough-wide smoke control area (SCA) will be introduced in Reading from 1 December, following approval from the government.

The new rules will allow the Council to take enforcement action to prevent smoke being emitted from the chimneys of any buildings.

The expansion of the SCA is part of the Council’s drive to improve air quality in Reading and create a healthier environment for residents.

Sixty-two percent of Reading is already an SCA and the Council held a public consultation last autumn on a proposal to expand it to the whole borough.

The Council then applied to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to create a borough-wide SCA, which the department approved.

A designated SCA enables the Council to issue a financial penalty of between £175 - £300 to the responsible person where smoke is emitting from a chimney within the zone.

Households in an SCA can burn solid fuels on an appliance which is on the Defra approved list, or use manufactured solid fuels bearing the ‘ready to burn’ logo on an open fire or non-Defra exempt appliance.

Outdoor barbecues, chimineas, garden fireplaces or pizza ovens can be used as long as they do not release smoke through the chimney of a building, e.g. a summerhouse. Garden bonfires are allowed in SCAs if they follow the rules on the Council’s bonfires webpage.

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said:

“There has been an increase in the number of homes burning solid fuel in recent years and the smoke it emits can be damaging to people’s health.

“In fact, Public Health England estimates that solid fuel burning could now account for more than 30% of local particulate emissions (PM2.5), which can be particularly harmful to the young, elderly and those with respiratory problems.

“The creation of a borough-wide smoke control area will benefit residents’ health and make it easier for households to understand the rules about burning solid fuels in Reading.”

For more information about Smoke Control Areas, visit: