Smells, dust, smoke and other pollution problems

If you are affected by a pollution nuisance, you can

Read Our procedure for dealing with statutory nuisance.

A statutory nuisance may exist if you are prevented from enjoying your land or property. You will need to provide details for us to 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, to give them a chance to remedy it. 

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

Smoke control areas

The majority of Pendle has been declared a smoke control area.

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

Use the Defra smoke control map to check if you live in a Smoke Control Area.

If you live in a Smoke Control Area:

  • you cannot release smoke from a chimney
  • you can only burn authorised fuel, unless you use an appliance approved by Defra (also known as an ‘exempt appliance’ or ‘Defra approved appliance’)
  • you may have to pay a penalty of up to £300 if your chimney releases smoke in a smoke control area.
  • You can be fined up to £1,000 if you buy unauthorised fuel to use in an appliance that’s not approved by Defra.

What you can burn in smoke control areas

In a smoke control area you can only burn fuel on the list of authorised fuels, or any of the following ‘smokeless’ fuels, unless you’re using a Defra approved appliance:

  • anthracite
  • semi-anthracite
  • gas
  • low volatile steam coal

Exempt appliances that can burn unauthorised fuels

Unauthorised fuels, such as wood, can only be burned in exempt appliances such as some boilers, cookers and stoves.

You must only use these types of fuel if the manufacturer says it can be used in the appliance.

Commercial premises

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act to emit dark smoke from trade or commercial premises. 

Waste produced from business activities must be stored, handled and disposed of in an appropriate and legal manner. Waste may only be burned on-site in specialist incinerators and even then conditions apply. 

We do not need to see dark smoke being emitted from a fire. We can collect evidence that materials were burned that would emit dark smoke (like rubber and plastic).

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

Outdoor ovens, burners and barbecues

You can use outdoor barbecues, chimineas, fireplaces or pizza ovens in smoke control areas.

If your appliance uses a chimney on the roof of a building (for example, a summerhouse), you can only burn authorised fuel unless it’s an exempt appliance.

Garden bonfires

You’re allowed garden bonfires in smoke control areas but you need to follow the rules on bonfires.