Households in England will face fines of up to £300 and even criminal records if they break new local burner rules.
The amount of smoke new stoves can emit per hour has been reduced from 5g to 3g as a result of the tightening of emissions regulations.
It applies to homes in “smoke control areas” which cover most towns and cities in England. Anyone breaching the new measures could be fined on the spot.
The rules are part of the government’s new 25-year environmental plan.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the new measures were part of his government’s effort to “leave the environment in a better state than we found it”.
In recent years, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has cracked down on log burners and coal fires as, according to the government, they are the biggest source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) – small particles of. air pollution that finds its way into the body’s lungs and blood.
Around 1.5m homes use wood as fuel across the UK, but burning wood and coal in open fires and stoves accounts for 38% of UK PM2.5 emissions.
In comparison, 16% comes from industrial combustion, 12% from road transport and 13% from the use of solvents and industrial processes.
This means that a wood burning stove emits more particles per hour than a diesel lorry.
As well as reducing the amount of PM2.5 wood burners are allowed to emit, Defra said it will enable local authorities to “better enforce” smoke control areas.
They will be allowed to issue fines of up to £300 to households whose chimneys emit too much smoke, and even pursue criminal proceedings if they do not comply.
Under the 25-year plan, the government said it was tightening the rules rather than imposing a total ban on burning fuels because some households use them for heating and cooking.
But it is forbidden to avoid barbecue, fire pits or bonfires, because that would be “disproportionate”, said the government.
In an attempt to cut particulate matter, the government last year banned the purchase of domestic coal and wet wood in England, two of the most polluting fuels, and urged the public to move to “cleaner alternatives “.
As is already the case, householders can be fined up to £1,000 if they are found to be burning unauthorized fuels. A list of authorized fuels in each of the UK’s four nations can be found on the government’s website.
Client Earth, an NGO that won pollution cases against the government, hit out at the 25-year plan, writing on Twitter that it was full of “vague promises” and that the environmental laws already in place are at risk because of Brexit. .