3 October 2023

| | 2 min read

Improving air quality in Newcastle

The whole of Newcastle will become a Smoke Control Area (SCA) as part of plans to improve air quality and protect people's health.

Newcastle City Council is committed to creating a cleaner, greener city.
Newcastle City Council is committed to creating a cleaner, greener city.

SCAs are introduced to reduce the amount of harmful smoke being released from chimneys in domestic or commercial buildings.

In these areas, people are only permitted to burn authorised fuels or use an appliance approved by the government such as some boilers and stoves.

The aim is to stop people burning high-polluting fuels which harm the environment and can have a more serious impact on people’s health.

First introduced in 1958, there are currently 72 SCAs in place in Newcastle which cover the majority of the city.

Now, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet has approved plans to replace the existing SCAs with a single order which covers the entire city.

Cllr Irim Ali, Cabinet member for a Dynamic City at Newcastle City Council, said: “We are committed to creating cleaner, greener neighbourhoods and improving air quality is an important part of that.

“We know that poor air quality can have a damaging effect on people’s health as it increases the risk of conditions such as respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer, as well as severely affecting those who are already ill.

“It has been over 60 years since SCAs were first introduced in Newcastle and since then the city has changed a lot. It’s undergone boundary changes, the population has grown and many areas have been redeveloped.

“It’s important we now have a SCA that covers the entire city, which will help improve air quality, protect our residents and clean up the environment.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) lists approved appliances – including boilers and stoves – on its website.

Fuel such as kiln-dried wood exhibiting the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo can be used in these appliances.

Residents who cannot use an approved appliance must use authorised ‘smokeless’ fuels such as Homefire, Ecoal50 or Phurnacite.

These are also listed on DEFRA’s website.

If the Council witnesses any smoke being released from a chimney, it can issue a £300 fine.

Anyone found selling or buying unauthorised fuel for use without an approved appliance in a SCA can face fines of up to £1,000.

Plans to introduce a new SCA across the whole of Newcastle are now subject to approval by the Secretary of State.

For more information about SCAs, visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/environmental-health-and-pollution/air-pollution/smoke-control-areas.

You can visit DEFRA’s website at https://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/fuels.php?country=england.