Oxford‘s longstanding smoke control areas will be expanded to the entirety of the city later this year.

Smoke control areas (SCAs) are intended to reduce the burning of heavily polluting fuels in chimneys and wood-burning stoves.

This helps shield the public from microscopic particles, known as PM2.5, that can invade the lungs and result in serious medical issues.

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Last year, Oxford City Council announced plans to expand the 23 areas which currently cover 48 per cent of the city.

Earlier this year, Oxford householders and businesses were asked for their views on the council’s proposals.

The eight-week consultation saw 443 responses in total, with 52 per cent of responses said that they were in favour of the proposals, with 42 per cent of responses disagreeing.

In March, the council submitted an application to the DEFRA, to request approval of the expansion.

The changes have since been approved and will come into effect on December 1.

Oxford’s current 23 smoke control areas were introduced from 1958, six years after the Great Smog of London which covered the capital for five days and resulted in around 12,000 deaths.

Councillor Anna Railton, deputy leader and cabinet member for zero carbon Oxford, said: "Particulate air pollution is a growing health concern, and we have been using a patchwork approach up to now.

Oxford Mail: Anna Railton Anna Railton (Image: Contribution.)"This expansion will bring the whole city under one single smoke control area.

"This will help us to protect everyone from indoor and outdoor particulate air pollution and simplify the rules for residents.”  

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Within the SCAs, residents and businesses must use solid fuel and wood-burning stoves/appliances or use an authorised fuel with an unapproved stove/appliance or open fire.

Businesses must also only sell authorised fuel to residents to use on their wood-burning stoves/appliances or open fires.

Houseboats are not covered by the existing SCAs and will not be covered by the expanded area.

Outdoor barbecues, chimineas, garden fireplaces and pizza ovens are also not covered by SCAs.

The new SCAs will be enforced in the same way as the existing 23 areas.

In the first instance, the council will aim to educate residents on best practices for using authorised appliances and fuel, and how they can burn fuel efficiently.

The council will continue to support households in fuel poverty through grant funding where eligible.

If the council witnesses smoke from the chimney of a domestic or commercial building, it can issue fines of £300.

Those found to be selling or buying unauthorised fuel for use without an approved appliance in a SCA can also face fines of up to £1,000.