Published: 29 May 2024

From: Environment

Further steps are being taken to improve air quality in Crawley following the adoption of new penalties aimed at regulating emissions from chimneys in the town’s smoke control area.

The new penalties were introduced by Crawley Borough Council following an amendment made by the Government to the Clean Air Act 1993 made under Schedule 12 of the Environment Act 2021. Under the Act, a large part of Crawley is covered by a smoke control order, meaning that it is illegal to burn a ‘controlled or ’unauthorised’ fuel (for example, wood) that emits smoke unless it is done so using a Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) approved appliance.

The new penalties, set by the Environment Act 2021, could see anyone violating these rules fined between £175 to £300 if smoke is emitted. It is no longer a defence to say smoke emissions were caused by an authorised fuel.

If using other appliances that are not Defra approved, then ‘smokeless’ fuels such as anthracite, semi anthracite, gas, or low volatile steam; or approved manufactured solid fuels can be used. Outdoor appliances such as barbecues, chimineas and pizza ovens are not affected and can be used in smoke control areas. However, if an appliance uses a chimney on the roof of a building (such as a summerhouse), only authorised fuel should be used, unless it is an exempt appliance.

These new penalties are a necessary step to securing cleaner air for Crawley. Air pollution in towns impacts the health of residents and visitors. Short term peaks in pollution levels, which can be caused by solid fuel use, are of particular danger to those with underlying health issues and can trigger conditions such as asthma, strokes and heart problems. We all have a duty to take steps to minimise this risk to others and these new penalties can help deliver that.

Councillor Bob Noyce

Cabinet member for Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change

Crawley Borough Council

For retailers, from May 2021, it became an offence to sell unauthorised fuel under the Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020. Retailers can be fined up to £1,000 if selling unauthorised fuel to customers using 'non-exempt appliances' in smoke control areas.

Residents can check if they live in a smoke control area in Crawley on the Defra website. Alternatively, residents can contact the council’s Environmental Health team at

Further information on smoke control areas in Crawley and solid fuel use is available on the Crawley Borough Council smoke control areas webpage.