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Do I need an SE Stove? What is Smoke Control? – We’ve got the answers here.

Smoke control areas, or zones, have been around since the late 1950s, they were introduced to help deal with the growing pollution in cities and surrounding areas after the Industrial Revolution and the evolution of factories over the UK.

Many larger towns and cities are considered to be Smoke Control Areas, this means you must meet the smoke emission standards for these areas. To check whether you are in a smoke control area you can check with your local council.

What Stove can I buy?

Across our brands we have a huge number of DEFRA approved, or SE (Smoke Exempt) models which are suitable to have installed in these areas, but there are restrictions on what fuels you can burn on your stove in these zones. Our helpful network of expert retailers can help you identify which stove is best for your home as well as making sure it also meets all necessary local authority regulations.

What can I burn?

If you live in one of the many Smoke Control Zones across the UK, then you are restricted to burning only authorised fuels, whether this is wood which meets the manufacturers stipulation on dryness (normally moisture of less than 20%), or if your stove is a multi-fuel appliance then you can only burn authorised smokeless fuels. You can find a list of authorised smokeless fuels here on the DEFRA website.

Other Top Tips

Choosing a DEFRA or SE stove is the first step when deciding which stove to buy, there are other considerations to make when making your final decision.

-          Check whether your stove is also Ecodesign – this is part of the new legislation coming into force in 2022 which is making sure only the cleanest burning stoves are available for purchase from January 2022 onwards – with tighter regulations to come, you can futureproof your purchase by buying an Ecodesign stove, or Eco2022 stove now.

-          Make sure your installation is up to regulations by using a qualified HETAS installer

-          Keep your stove looking its best with regular services, this is normally done when you have your chimney swept and by helping keeping your stove well-maintained you can keep it operating at optimum efficiency.

-          Fuel – Making sure you are using the correct type of fuel for your stove is a huge part of being a stove owner – think of it like making sure your pet has the right food – you wouldn’t feed your dog with cat food, and it’s the same with stoves. By burning wet wood, house coal and other unapproved fuels or rubbish on your stove can not only damage the stove internally, but also you don’t get the same performance and efficiency levels from your stove. We always recommend following the manufacturers advice when it comes to load weights and fuel types that can be used in your appliance. Any wood that is used should have a moisture level of less than 20%. You can look out of the Wood Sure or Burn Better logos on firewood to make sure you’re buying wood that’s suitable for woodburning stoves.


If you need more help choosing your DEFRA approved stove you can always contact one of our knowledgeable network of dealers across the country – put your postcode in here to find the closest dealer to you today.

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