New smoke control order

Published: Tuesday 28th February 12

A new Wandsworth Smoke Control Order is set to come into force on November 1 this year which would replace 21 existing pieces of legislation controlling the types of fuel which can be burnt in local fireplaces.

The order, which has been drawn up by the council, is designed to 'tidy up' the boroughs air quality legislation and to make it easier to understand.

It would ensure that every household in the borough is subject to the same set of rules as borough boundary changes and large scale redevelopments have meant that some parts of Wandsworth are not currently covered.

No additional types of fuel would be 'banned' if the order comes into force and the rules on which types of stoves and furnaces can be used to burn solid fuels would remain the same.

Residents will still be able to use a fireplace in their home as long as they use an approved 'smokeless' fuel or have a stove designed to prevent harmful emissions.

Burning smoky fuels like wood or coal in open fireplaces has been banned across most of London since the 1970s. The rules were brought in to combat the thick clouds of smog which used to envelope the capital.

The smoke produced by burning prohibited fuels includes pollutants which can be particularly harmful to young children. The penalty for not complying with a Smoke Control Order can be a fine of up to £1000.

A copy of the proposed order can be viewed on the council's website or can inspected free of charge on Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm at the Environment and Community Services Reception, 5th Floor, Town Hall Extension, Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 2PU.

Residents have until April 10 to object to the Smoke Control Order. They can do so by writing to the following address:

Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
DEFRA
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London, SW1P 3JR

The Secretary of State will consider any objection received and may hold a local enquiry before deciding whether or not to approve the order or to make any modifications.


ENDS

About Air Quality in Wandsworth

Wandsworth Council has a wide programme of air quality initiatives - most of which are coordinated by a dedicated team in the environmental services department.

Much of their work is focussed on reducing vehicle emissions which are the primary cause of air pollution in London.

The team is also responsible for monitoring the levels of airborne pollutants across Wandsworth.

Examples of the council's work to improve air quality work include:

- A rolling programme of environmental theatre production in local schools to teach children how their travel choices affect air quality.

- Developing school travel plans which reduce the number of cars used on the school run. 98 local schools now have approved travel plans which include initiatives like 'walking buses' and car pools to cut down on vehicle use.

- The council offers free vehicle emission checks in public places like supermarket car parks. The popular programme offers residents the chance to check if their car will pass its next MOT and raise awareness about harmful vehicle emissions.

- Since 2007 the council has championed car clubs which dramatically reduce total vehicle use and take older, more pollution cars off the road. We are currently increasing the number of on-street car club vehicles in Wandsworth five fold and have one of the highest car club memberships in London.

- Free bike safely lessons are provided for children and adults to give more residents the confidence and skills they need to start cycling.

- 'Dr Bike' cycle surgeries are held around the borough to promote cycling and teach residents basic maintenance skills.

- Electric vehicle charging points have been installed in key locations which enable residents to switch over to low emission electric vehicles.

- A free airTEXT messaging service warns residents when high pollution levels are forecast.

- The council promotes walking through public health initiatives and smarter travel awareness schemes.

- A series of investment schemes are making the borough's town centres more pedestrian friendly including projects in Clapham Junction, Southfields, Putney and Earlsfield.

- The council is working with the transport authorities to relieve overcrowding on local trains and tubes. Higher capacity on these services will help encourage more residents to stop using their cars to get to work - reducing vehicle emissions.

- The council's Smarter Driving initiative is raising awareness about vehicle pollution and encourages drivers to take simple steps to reduce their emissions like inflating tires.

- The council's promotes and reward good environmental practice through the Green Champion scheme. This award scheme targets residents and businesses which have contributed to improving air quality.

- The council's Go Green Plus advisers visit businesses to do an environmental audit and return with an action plan which should enhance the business profile whilst reducing energy costs and emissions.

More information is available on the council's website at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/airquality

For more information on the different ways the council is helping people reduce car use visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/travelchoices

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