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Smoke Control Areas

Smoke Control Areas were introduced to prevent the continuation of the the smogs of the 1960s and earlier, which caused large numbers of winter deaths. They are intended to limit smoke from homes and businesses by setting standards for fires using a chimney. Smoke Control Areas do not prevent burning or bonfires.


Through legislation developed to deal with historic smogs in the UK, Smoke Control Areas have been introduced in many towns and cities to control the emission of smoke from domestic properties.  Inside designated Smoke Control Areas fires and furnaces must either be:

The links take you to the most up to date list of exempt appliances and authorised fuels. For more information on the rules for Smoke Control Areas see Smoke Control Areas (from DEFRA) (opens new window)

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 (opens new window) in a Smoke Control Area to:

  • emit smoke from a domestic property;
  • use "unauthorised fuel" unless it is used in an "exempt" appliance.

See our web page for advice on Domestic fires, stoves and biomass heating. The existence of a Smoke Control Area does not make it illegal to have a bonfire within the area.

Smoke Control Areas in West Lothian

The designated Smoke Control Area in West Lothian covers the greater Livingston area. A map detailing the extent of this area can be viewed via Smoke Control Areas Map [278KB] . (Please note that the differing shading relates to the original legal Smoke Control Orders. The important part is that all shaded areas are Smoke Control Areas). If it is unclear from the map whether your home or business is within the Smoke Control Area, please contact us.

No other part of West Lothian is a Smoke Control Area.

Difference between Smoke Control Area and Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)

A smoke control area is an area of a local authority where domestic fuel burning is regulated to control emissions.

An Air Quality Management Area or AQMA is an area of a local authority where Scottish Air Quality limits have been breached. The local authority will then put together a plan to improve the air quality. This area could be just one or two streets, or it could be much bigger. Declaring a smoke control area can be included in a plan to improve air quality. The draft Linlithgow and Newton air quality action plans both have the declaration of a smoke control area as a measure to improve air quality.

Complaints about Smoke in Smoke Control Areas

Complaints can be made to Environmental Health. However, Environmental Health cannot routinely consider complaints about domestic smoke nuisance due to other higher priority work. Investigations will only be carried out where levels of other prioritised work permit.