All slow combustion wood heaters emit smoke when they are first lit or fuel is added. However, they should not emit excessive smoke for long periods of time if they are operated correctly and are well maintained.
Section 135A of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 defines ‘excessive smoke’ as the emission of a visible plume of smoke from a chimney for a continuous period of not less than 10 minutes, including a period of not less than 30 seconds when the plume extends at least 10 metres from the point at which the smoke is emitted from the chimney.
Where it appears to an authorised officer that excessive smoke is being emitted from a chimney on residential premises, the officer may serve a smoke abatement notice directing the occupier of the premises to cease the emission of excessive smoke within 21 days.
A smoke abatement notice remains in force for 6 months, and failure to comply with the notice is an offence.