Stoking up a big fire is a something many homes will do this Christmas.
While it’s nice to have some festive flames, have you given any thought into what is legal and what is banned from being burned?
Whether it’s seasonal roasting of chestnuts on an open fire, creating the ambience for those all important in-laws, or just warming your toes when the sub-zero temperatures hit, there are rules on what you can set ablaze.
The popularity of woodburning stoves has seen the choice of fuels grow at many retailers.
But strangely not all of them are legal to use in Kirklees.
One in particular is definitely banned from being burned in Kirklees and half of Calderdale – house coal.
Not to be confused with smokeless fuel, good old fashioned coal may be a nostalgic fuel for many but its polluting smoke breaches the Kirklees Smoke Control Area.
Despite this many retailers in Huddersfield – including Wickes on Manchester Road – are still selling the stuff.
Wickes’ ‘Traditional House Coal’ even says “NOT suitable for smokeless zones” on the front of each bag.
Kirklees Green Party leader, Clr Andrew Cooper is pressing for action on the matter.
“It’s a bizarre situation where you’re not allowed to burn house coal but you’re still allowed to buy it,” Clr Cooper said.
“It’s strange that garages and some builders’ merchants sell it when there’s lots of really good smokeless alternatives.
“Smoke Control Orders were put in for a reason – to protect people’s health.”
Clr Cooper said he advocated wood burning stoves as long as they were DEFRA approved and the right kinds of fuel were used.
He said he always used seasoned wood in his own system, which heats his home and provides hot water.
Kiln dried or seasoned wood burns more efficiently and produces less smoke.
Clr Cooper is attempting to get a local by-law brought in to ban the sale of house coal.
A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “Smoke control areas are covered by the Clean Air Act 1993.
“It is not illegal to sell fuel under this act, however if the council received complaints in relation to the act we would investigate, and part of this investigation would include where all sources of fuel are purchased from.”
While it is not illegal to sell house coal, the Examiner has asked Wickes why it sells a product that is illegal to use.
A spokesperson for Wickes said: “As with all of our stores, our Huddersfield store serves a wide catchment area, including customers who live outside of a smoke control legislation zone.
“Therefore to ensure that we cater to everybody’s needs and provide the best possible choice, we stock a variety of coal products.”