Smoke pollution

Clean Air Act

The first Clean Air Act was introduced in 1956 in response to one of the UK's worst environmental disasters. In a single five-day period, over 4,000 deaths were attributed to a London smog caused mainly by coal burning.

The acts, now consolidated in the Clean Air Act 1993, allowed councils to establish smoke control areas to improve air quality by the burning of cleaner fuels in these areas.

The Clean Air Act 1993 controls domestic and industrial smoke and gives local authorities the powers to create smoke control areas.

These areas help the UK to meet air quality standards for sulphur dioxide and particulates set by European law.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 smoke emitted from a domestic chimney outside a smoke control area is also covered by nuisance provisions.

Smoke control areas

These are areas where the emission of smoke from chimneys of dwellings is prohibited and smoke from other premises is controlled by orders under the Clean Air Act.

It is an offence for an occupier of premises to allow smoke to be emitted from a chimney, unless the smoke is being caused by an authorised fuel or the fireplace which the chimney serves is exempt from the order.

If you live in a smoke control area

Living in a smoke control area does not necessarily mean that you must give up an open fire, but it may mean installing a more modern heating appliance capable of burning solid smokeless fuel, or adaptation of your fire or boiler, to meet the requirements of the order.

Details of authorised smokeless fuels and their proper use should be available from all reputable coal merchants and from the Solid Fuel Association website.

Coal and wood are not authorised smokeless fuels and should not be burnt on fires.

However, any coal, wood or other fuel which is not an authorised smokeless fuel, used in a smoke control area must be burnt on an exempt heating appliance. These appliances are designed to burn off their own smoke.

If you are thinking of buying an appliance to burn a fuel that is not an authorised smokeless fuel, always check the appliance is exempt for use in a smoke control area.

If you live outside of a smoke control area

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 smoke emitted from a domestic chimney outside a smoke control area can be deemed a statutory nuisance if it is prejudicial to health or causing a nuisance.

Therefore it is best, if at all possible to avoid burning smoky fuels.


Smoke control orders do not apply to domestic bonfires, however under certain circumstances, they can be deemed a statutory nuisance.

Our policy

We prefer to adopt an educational role to help people's understanding of the need for smoke control areas and why it is important for everyone to comply with this legislation.

Where appropriate, however, we will take court action against persons or companies found to be committing an offence.

Map of the smoke control area

A map of the smoke control area in Cambridge

The shaded area on the above map marks out the smoke control area. The list of streets below is not exhaustive.

Streets in the smoke-control area
StreetsStreets (continued)Streets (continued)
Adam's Road Gonville Place (North) Newnham Mill
All Saints Passage Gough Way Newnham Road
Amhurst Court Grange Gardens Newnham Road (East)
Archway Court Grange Road Newnham Terrace
Barton Close Granta Place Newnham Walk
Barton Road Grantchester Meadows Northampton Street
Beaufort Place Grantchester Mews Owlstone Road
Belmont Place Grantchester street Park Parade
Bene't Street Green Street Park Street Terrace
Blackmoor Head Yard Green Street Parson's Court
Botolph Lane Guildhall Street Pearce Close
Botolph Lane Hardwick Street Peas Hill
Bradwells Court Hedgersley Close Pembroke Street
Bridge Street Hershel Road Penarth Road
Brook Gardens Estate Hobson Place/Street Petty Cury
Bulstrode Gardens Jesus Lane Pike's Walk
Burrell Walk Jordan's Yard Pinehurst Street
Camden Court King's Parade Portugal Place/Street
Cenocle King's Parade/Street Post Office Terrace
Chapneys Walk King's Road Quayside
Chedworth Street Lammas Fields Queens' Lane
Church rate Walk Laundress Lane Queen's Road (West)
Clare Road Lensfied Road Regent Street/Terrace
Clerk Maxwell Road Lion Yard Ridley Hall Road
Cockcroft Place Little St. Mary's Lane Rose Crescent
Corn Exchange Street Lower Park Street Round Church Street
Corn Exchange Street Madingley Road (South) Selwyn Gardens
Cranmer Road Madingley Road (the Lawns) Selwyn Road
Croft Lodge Magdelene Street Senate House Passage
Dane Drive Malcolm Street Place Sidgewick Road
Derby Street Malting Court Sidney Street
Downing Place/Street Manor Street Sidney Street
Downing Street Market Hill Silver Street
Drummer Street Market Passage South Green Road
Eltisley Avenue Market Street Spens Avenue
Emmanuel Road (West) Marlowe Road St. Edward's Passage
Emmanuel Street Merton Street St. Mary's Passage
Fen Causeway (North) Mill Lane St. Mary's Street
Fitzwilliam Street Millars Yard Tennis Court Road/Terrace
Free School Lane Millington Road Trinity Street/Lane
Fullbrook Road New Park Street Trumpington Street
Garret Hostel Lane Newnham Croft Road Victoria Avenue (West)

Contact us

Environmental Quality and Growth (EQG) team

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