Are Fire Pits Legal in the UK?
The UK’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, so making the most of your outdoor space can be tricky. If you lack a lot of outdoor space, the weather is unfavourable, or living in a smoke-controlled area, being able to enjoy your garden is difficult. Smoke-controlled areas are widespread in the UK and don’t allow most wood burning appliances, and authorised fuels must be Defra approved and “smokeless”. This is despite the fact that wood burning fire pits are for sale in most garden centres and big box retailers. However, gas, propane and ethanol (biofuel) fire pits that produce little to no smoke are the perfect solution.
In England, most of London, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham and Birmingham are smoke-controlled. In Scotland, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow are as well. The smoke-controlled areas in Wales are unclear and would require you to contact your local council, but they do exist and it is important to take note of your local regulations. Northern Ireland is a largely smoke-controlled area, banning wood burning smoke in Belfast and Londonderry. Consequently, wood burning fire pits aren’t legal commercially or residentially in much of the UK. However, making your outdoor space warm, comfortable, and beautiful can still be done!
Natural gas, propane and ethanol fire pits are legal commercially and residentially in the UK as they are clean-burning appliances that create virtually no smoke. Outdoor fire pits are subject to a few specific safety regulations and generally must meet CE and UKCA certification. However, this won’t be a concern with Solus Decor as all of our appliances are CE, UKCA, ANSI & CSA certified in their entirety (not just the burner).
UK regulations state that fire pits must maintain a safe distance from combustible materials and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and positioning. Safety is of utmost importance to us and these rules are simple and easy to follow with gas or propane fire pits. Providing a controlled burn that doesn’t spark, there are no flying embers that often cause unintentional fires and injuries. Additionally, their clean-burning nature and controlled flame allow these fire pits to be used in covered patios (with adequate ventilation), whereas wood burning fire pits cannot.
(our fire pits also perfect for covered patios with adequate ventilation)
Wood burning fire pits are a well-loved tradition in many British homes. They typically produce more heat, are more portable than other fire pits and are less expensive. However, our clients frequently come to us with complaints of smoke that stings their eyes and the smell it leaves on their clothes and in their hair. Furthermore, wood burning smoke that is considered a nuisance could lead to complaints from neighbours that the local council is obligated to investigate, possibly raising fines (of up to £1000) or rendering your fire pit unusable. Our fire pits, fire bowls and fire tables not only avoid this, but allow heat output to be controlled with little to no storage requirements for fuel such as with kindling and logs.
Equally, natural gas fire pits require some preparation to be installed as they have to be connected to a natural gas line that should run under your deck or patio. Once installed however, fuel supply isn’t a worry and there are no unsightly pipes or hoses. Propane fire pits also require a connection to a propane tank which UK guidelines suggest should be stored outdoors, in a well ventilated area. This may seem like a hassle that you would rather avoid, but finding firewood storage, wet firewood and maintenance of a wood burning fire pit will require more time and cleaning long-term. A particularly low-maintenance option from Solus are ethanol burning fire pits which don’t require the pipes or hoses that gas and propane do, however we don’t provide this option outside of the UK or EU.
To summarise, gas, ethanol and propane fire pits are perfectly legal in the UK and are a modern and clean-burning alternative to your classic wood burning fire pit. Virtually smoke free, safer, and easy to maintain, we believe that they are the best alternative for those that want to make the most of their outdoor space and keep toasty this winter.