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Smoke control

Under the Clean Air Act of 1993, Tower Hamlets is covered by a borough-wide smoke control area. This means that you can’t emit smoke from a domestic chimney unless you are burning an authorised fuel or using an exempt appliance. This legislation helps to prevent smog and reduce the amount of harmful particulate matter in the air.

If you are found to be burning unpermitted fuels in an appliance that does not appear on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs's (DEFRA) list of exempt appliances, you could be fined up to £1000.

NB – These rules only apply to appliances that emit smoke through a domestic building chimney. This means that bonfires and most barbecues are still permitted but please be considerate to your neighbours. See more advice on bonfires.

Open Fires and Wood-burning Stoves

DEFRA has published a practical guide on open fires and wood-burning stoves that provides simple steps to reduce their environmental and health impacts.


To report a problem with smoke, please email or call:

Environmental.Protection@towerhamlets.gov.uk or 020 7364 5000

Please provide:

  • a description of the problem,
  • the address of the problem,
  • your name, address and contact details.