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What is a DEFRA Exempt Stove and why is it important?

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What is a DEFRA Exempt Stove and why is it important?

When it comes to purchasing a stove for your home, there’s a lot of things that you need to consider – the style of the stove, the material the stove is made from, and the fuel that it is going to burn.

You may have noticed across our site that a number of wood burning or multi fuel stoves are listed as being DEFRA Exempt or DEFRA Approved. To the average homeowner, this may seem like jargon that they do not need to pay attention to, but that could not be further from the case.

Although they may not seem like it, both of these terms are interchangeable with each other and signify that the wood burning or multi-fuel stove has been approved by DEFRA for use in a UK Smoke Control Area.

But why is this important?

Who is DEFRA?

DEFRA is an acronym for the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs. They are responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting the food and farming industry and sustaining a thriving rural economy. 

In 1993, DEFRA introduced some additions to the Clean Air Act which prohibited the production of dark smoke from chimneys and the emission of grit, dust and fumes from furnaces and chimneys within many large cities and urban areas within the UK.

This legislation has become more and more prominent in recent years, as wood burning stoves and log burners have risen in popularity.

What is a DEFRA approved stove?

A DEFRA approved stove, or a DEFRA smoke exempt appliance is a wood burning or multi-fuel stove that has been rigorously tested against the government's criteria for emission levels. DEFRA approved stoves have passed these tests and are limited on the amount of smoke that it will produce during all stages of normal operation.

Typically, these DEFRA approved stoves have been modified by the manufacturer in a way that limits the level the appliance can be starved of air during the burning process. When a stove is starved of air this creates a smoky combustion and increase the amount of black smoke that the stove will produce.

Here at Stove Supermarket, we stock a wide range of DEFRA approved stoves. 

Starting from £420, the Classic 5 clean burn Multi-Fuel/Wood Burning Stove is a great lower-budget addition to any home. 

At the higher end of the price scale is the Broseley Snodon 26 Wood Burning Boiler Stove, which is available from £2,770 - perfect for those wanting to heat their whole home and produce domestic hot water at the same time. 

Do I need a DEFRA approved stove?

The answer to this question is simple – if you live in a large city or an urban environment, the chances are that you will require a DEFRA approved wood burning or multi-fuel stove if you want to avoid a hefty £1,000 fine.

If you are unsure if you live in a DEFRA smoke controlled area, you will be able to find this information on your local authority website. Alternatively, you can take a look at this list to find out more.  

Even if you do not live in a smoke controlled area, DEFRA approved stoves are a good investment for both your home and the environment. These are much more environmentally friendly and will avoid upsetting any neighbours with nuisance smoke.

Esse 125 SE Multi-Fuel/Wood Burning Stove - £1,049

What fuels can I burn in a DEFRA approved stove?

In smoke controlled areas you are only permitted to burn authorised smokeless fuels in your DEFRA approved stove. Smokeless fuels are authorised separately depending on the country you are based in.

The full list of authorised fuels for each region can be found here:

It is important to remember that burning damp wood or other wet fuel, regardless of whether or not the stove is DEFRA approved, will produce nuisance smoke and will still risk prosecution.

Can I fit a non-DEFRA approved stove in a smoke controlled area?

Yes, you can install a non-DEFRA approved stove in a smoke controlled area. However, you will only be able to burn DEFRA approved smokeless fuels highlighted in the list above and unfortunately, wood will not be found on any of these lists. So, if your heart is set on burning wood in your stove, then it’s best to opt for a DEFRA approved stove.

ACR Astwood Multi-Fuel/Wood Burning Stove - £1,055

So now you understand the importance of buying a DEFRA approved stove where required, feel free to take a look at our extensive collection hereWe stock a range of DEFRA approved wood burning and multi-fuel stoves to suit all budgets and tastes. 

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