Plans launched to make Sandwell a Smoke Control Area

A Black Country council has launched plans to ban people from burning wood through chimneys unless through authorised stoves.

Sandwell Council is proposing to make the borough a Smoke Control Area in a bid to reduce pollution.

This would make it illegal for residents and businesses to emit smoke from chimneys unless using specifically approved appliances or authorised fuel.

Those that break the rules would be fined up to £1,000.

Unauthorised fuels, such as wood, can only be burned in exempt appliances such as some boilers, cookers and stoves.

Approved fuels such as specific types of charcoal can be burned in any appliance.

Should the plans be passed, Sandwell would join neighbouring Dudley and Birmingham in having a Smoke Control Area.

A Sandwell Council spokesman said: "We are proposing to make the whole of the borough a Smoke Control Area which means that residents and businesses would not be able to emit smoke from a chimney unless they were burning authorised fuel or using ‘exempt’ appliances e.g. DEFRA-approved wood burners and stoves.

"Our first steps will be to carry out a general survey with residents and businesses to find out any concerns and provide opportunities for discussion.

"Following this, and subject to agreement by cabinet, taking into consideration the results of the survey, we would then look to carry out a formal public consultation over a period of at least six weeks.

"If the whole of the borough were to become a Smoke Control Area it would be the same as two of our neighbouring authorities, Birmingham and Dudley."

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