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Protect York’s air quality by ‘burning better’ this Winter

Published Tuesday, 12 October 2021

The council is supporting the national ‘Burn Better’ campaign.

We're supporting the national ‘Burn Better’ campaign, which highlights that a few small changes to the way people burn and maintain their solid fuel appliances can make a massive difference to local air quality.

As winter draws in, and temperatures become cooler, we're reminding residents that many areas of York are already included within smoke control areas, where only certain types of solid fuel appliances and fuels can be used and smoke emissions cannot be produced from a chimney.

This includes the majority of areas within the outer ring road as well as all of Haxby and Wiggington, which are covered by smoke control areas.

It’s important to be aware of the steps we can all take to improve the air quality, which helps to protect the health of individuals and those around them.

Find out where smoke control areas are within York and the additional rules that apply.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment and Climate Change, said:

Wherever you live in York, either inside or outside a smoke control area, if you use an open fire or stove, it’s important to be aware that burning poor quality fuels, such as wet wood or house coal, can release tiny harmful particles into the air. These types of fuels contribute to poor air quality across the city and can damage your health and the health of those around you.

“If we can all take small steps to improve the environment, this can make a big difference.”

Cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels produce less smoke and pollution than wet wood or traditional house coal and are cheaper and more efficient to burn.

Some top tips to help you burn better this winter;

  • always choose fuels that are cleaner to burn, look for the ‘Ready to Burn’ logo on bagged fuel - you should always check which fuel types are recommended for your appliance and ensure you comply with the rules for smoke control areas
  • if you burn wood, make sure it’s dried properly - freshly cut wood needs to be air dried for a minimum of 2 years before it’s safe to burn
  • have a skilled tradesperson clean and maintain your appliance regularly
  • get your chimney swept at least once a year, this reduces emissions as well as the chances of chimney fires breaking out

Visit ‘burn better’ to find out more about how to improve air quality.

For further information about smoke control areas, contact our Public Protection Unit at or call 01904 551525.

In 2019, the council announced a climate emergency and have since set an ambition for York to be a net-zero carbon city by 2030.

We recognise the threat of climate change at both a global and local scale, and is committed to delivering bold, local climate action to deliver economic and social benefits, such as:

  • new green jobs
  • economic savings
  • market opportunities
  • much improved well-being for York residents

Our ambitions will be reflected in the 'York Climate Change Strategy', once published early next year.