Defra Approved Stoves - What, Why and Where

Most people who are looking for a new stove or bought one recently have heard about Defra approved stoves – stoves that are allowed to be used in Smoke Control Areas. Even if appliances producing smoke are banned in Smoke Control Areas and Defra approved stoves do produce some smoke, they have been included to the list of the so-called exempt appliances because they produce minimal smoke and very small amounts of emissions.

Why Only Defra Approved Stoves Are Allowed in Smoke Control Areas?

Morso stove sceneIn the 1950s and 1960s, home owners and factories in the United Kingdom burned large amounts of coal. It is believed that hundreds of people died because of the smog produced by coal burning. The government had to do something and it decided to introduce the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968. These gave local authorities the right to create Smoke Control Areas in which appliances producing smoke were legally banned.

Using Defra Approved Stove Doesn't Mean You're "Off the Hook"

If you live in a Smoke Control Area, you can get into trouble with your local authorities if smoke is coming from your chimney even if you are using a Defra approved stove. In addition to being obliged to use an exempt appliance, you are also obliged to use authorised fuel exclusively. If you get caught burning unauthorised fuel, you can get a fine of up to £1,000. Therefore, if you are living in a smokeless zone, you better make sure to buy a Defra approved stove and burn authorised fuel only. To make sure that a stove is really approved by Defra, you are recommended to visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair official website and look for the list of exempt appliances in your region.

What if You Live in the Countryside or Outside Smoke Control Area?

Defra approved stoves are also a smart choice if you live in the countryside or outside Smoke Control Area. Firstly, choosing a Defra approved stove isn't just about complying with the legal requirements. It is also about reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are warming up the planet. And secondly, in an effort to reduce the country's carbon footprint and improve the air quality, Smoke Control Areas are continuously being expanded. In other words, you may be living outside Smoke Control Area today but that may change very soon. And when it does, you will have to replace all unauthorised heating appliances and fuels if you want to avoid fines which aren't exactly low.

Where To Shop For Defra Approved Stoves?

Defra approved stoves are offered by the majority of wood/multifuel burning stove retailers but obviously, some have a better offer than the others in terms of both the prices and the selection of styles, designs and features. Therefore it is a good idea to take some time to shop around. Also, don't forget to check out online stores which usually have a much better selection and considerably lower prices.