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Wood burning appliances

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area is not currently a Smoke Control Area so there is no current restriction on the type of appliance that can be installed, although all new sales will gradually switch to more efficient models.

Sales of certain solid fuels and wet wood are now prohibited by The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020.

Therefore there are no particular requirements regarding the appliance type, although we would advise that you buy the most efficient appliance that you are able to and that you only use well-seasoned wood fuel and avoid burning waste wood.

Smoke Control Areas

There are currently no Smoke Control Areas in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

If you are buying an appliance you may wish to consider that this may change in the future. Therefore you may wish to consider if the appliance you are looking at is an Ecodesign stove or one that is on the DEFRA list of exempt appliances that can be operated in a Smoke Control Area.

Ecodesign and DEFRA exempt appliances produce relatively fewer emissions of fine particulates (335g of fine particulates per Megawatt hour of heat) in comparison with non-exempt appliances (2660g/MWh) or solid fuel open fires (2950g/MWh). Further information can be found in the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2022 document on the GOV.UK website.

There is also a list of DEFRA authorised fuels for use in Smoke Control Areas if you were to use something other than wood.

Wood burning appliance installations

Any wood burner and flue installation should be notified to the Building Control team via an application from the applicant or ideally via a registered installer to ensure that the installation is safe and all the relevant Building Regulation requirements are complied with.

If you need to install a flue or chimney you may need planning permission. More information is available on the planning portal.

If you want to install a wood burning appliance in a listed building you may need Listed building consent.

Operating a wood burning appliance

A wood burner should be operated in a way that does not cause nuisance to neighbours. This can be achieved by only using dry and seasoned wood fuels (<20% moisture or labelled ready to burn) and careful use of the appliance controls.

The flue should be observed regularly to ensure that there are no visible smoke emissions when the wood burner is up to operating temperature. Visible smoke will mean that either an unsuitable fuel is being burned or the wood burner controls are not being used effectively.

Wet wood makes for a much less efficient fire that smoulders and creates tar and smoke. These tars can be corrosive and potentially damaging to the lining of the flue and increasing the danger of a chimney fire.

Household rubbish or plastics must not be burnt as these may contain harmful pollutants. Treated wood products such as old fence posts or chipboard must not be burnt as they contain glues and chemicals that will cause fume problems when burnt.

Further useful information

These websites have some useful information around wood burning appliances:

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