Smells, dust, smoke and other pollution problems

If you think you are affected by a statutory nuisance, you should contact us.

A statutory nuisance may exist if you are prevented from enjoying your land or property by something like dust, vibration, smoke, odour, light, insects, etc. coming from such premises. We will take details from you and investigate. We may ask you to complete diary sheets detailing when and how you are affected.

As part of our nuisance investigation procedure we may contact the person responsible informally, to give them a chance to remedy it. 

If we cannot resolve the matter informally, we will decide whether formal action (for example serving an abatement notice or taking court action) is appropriate.

Sometimes construction and demolition works can cause particular problems, especially on large development sites. We have published a Code of Practice on Construction and Demolition which contains advice for site managers on reducing disturbance to nearby residents.

Smoke control areas

There are designated Smoke Control Areas (also known as Smokeless Zones) covering the more highly-populated areas of the borough.

If you live in a Smoke Control Area:

  • You can only burn smokeless fuel on an open fire 
  • If you have a stove it must be approved for use in a Smoke Control Area, and you must follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding what to burn and how. Businesses that use wood in manufacturing processes may burn their wood offcuts in approved appliances. Defra publishes a list of all approved appliances
  • If you have a stove that is not an approved one, you may only burn smokeless fuel in it

Please contact us to check if you are in a Smoke Control Area.

We have powers under the Clean Air Act to deal with people who ignore these rules. A fine of up to £1,000 can be imposed.

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act to emit dark smoke from trade or commercial premises. We do not strictly need to see dark smoke being emitted from a fire, it is sufficient to collect evidence that materials were burned that would emit dark smoke (e.g. rubber, plastic).

If a bonfire on trade or commercial premises does not emit dark smoke, but smoke from it causes a nuisance, we can take action for statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act. In this case we could only take formal action if bonfires occurred repeatedly.