Plans to tackle sources of air pollution - such as wood-burning stoves - put too much responsibility on local councils, critics say.
The government, as part of its clean air strategy, wants to clamp down on all sources of pollution, including coal-burning and ammonia from farms.
Campaigners welcome the consultation, but say it does not go far enough.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said it would be "disproportionate" to have a uniform ban on certain fuels.
He said the air pollution effects in rural areas of fuels, such as diesel or coal, are significantly less compared to urban areas as they are dispersed.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "What we've got here are a series of proportionate measures which we hope will deal with what is a big public health issue."
Ministers want to halve the number of people exposed to high levels of pollution from fine particles, known as particulates, by 2025.
One of the most contentious proposals is to reduce pollution from wood burners, which, along with solid fuels, cause 38% of particulate pollution.
But a source at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told the BBC there was no plan to ban existing stoves - or the burning of coal and open wood fires, which are far more polluting than wood burners.
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Farmers, who have largely evaded pollution controls so far, will be told to buy new equipment to reduce airborne ammonia from slurry.
The government has been obliged to publish this Clean Air Strategy under an EU rule. It's in addition to the law which has seen the UK taken to court over high levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution.
What about my wood burner?
The new legislation would not ban existing wood-burning stoves. However, any new stoves that are sold would have to be cleaner
People would be encouraged to burn dry seasoned wood, which emits fewer particulates than wet wood
Councils would be given new powers, such as limiting what people can burn or introducing "no-burn days"
But there is not expected to be a ban on the sale of wet wood, which typically come from garage forecourts