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Smoke Control Areas

A Smoke Control Area (SCA) is a legally defined area where you cannot emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney.

Boats line a tree-covered canal with smoke coming out of the chimneys.

You can be issued a financial penalty of between £175 to £300 if you break this rule. Only local authorities have the power to enforce SCAs and issue fines (the Canal & River Trust do not issue fines or manage SCAs).

Smoke Control Area (SCA) regulations can now be applied to boats following the passing of the Environment Act 2021. Local authorities must consult before applying SCA rules to boats, but several local authorities are beginning this process.

You're likely to receive a visit, a warning, and/or a fine from the local authority if you regularly produce an excessive amount of smoke in a SCA.

It is, therefore, in your interest to run your stove as efficiently and with as little smoke as possible. SCA rules do not cover generators or boat engines.

Where an SCA covers a canal or river, and the local authority wishes to extend the SCA to cover boats, we are requesting that they pay for signage to make clear to boaters where they are entering an SCA.

The first SCA covering a Trust waterway came into effect in February 2024 in Cannock Chase, covering part of the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Cannock extension. Signage has been installed at each entrance to the SCA.

Don’t burn rubbish!

We shouldn't need to tell you to never burn rubbish and treated woods, but a minority still do. Not only is it bad for their health, but it affects others too, so please spread the word or point them in the direction of this handy guide of Do's and Don'ts. Please also note that the burning of rubbish, treated woods, damp wood, and any other type of non-smokeless fuel in a Smoke Control Area could result in a hefty fine from the local authority.

Last Edited: 05 February 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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