Smoke Control Areas
I was intrigued to receive a Press Release from Reading Borough Council reminding people that Reading has a number of Smoke Control Areas around the town. I will be honest and say that I had no idea such zones existed. They date mainly from the 1950’s and 60’s when Reading, like many other towns, suffered from smog as a result of all the coal and wood that was being burned for heating.
According to the press release the 21 zones in Reading cover 62% of the Borough and within them people can be fined up to £1,000 for burning any “unauthorised smoky fuel like coal, coke or wood”. However, some wood-burning stoves are exempt.
With the increase in the cost of gas and electricity, as well as the recent cold snap, an increased number of people in Reading’s Victorian houses have reverted to burning wood and coal to heat their homes. However, even though these fuel sources are seen as more “sustainable” they can have a negative impact on air quality and the Borough’s Environmental Health team was concerned at the cumulative impact.
A list of Reading’s Smoke Control Areas is here with links to a map. I do not live in one of the areas but then my house and those around me have no chimneys or fireplaces.