Smoke pollution

We are continuing to respond to complaints from the public in relation to smoke during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only essential visits will be conducted if safe to do so. Where possible we will contact individuals by email or phone; please provide these details when you make contact.

We are continuing with enforcement action where this is required and will liaise with the police where needed.

With the majority of complaints received we will be asking for diary sheets to be kept and/or the use of videos that can be emailed to the officer.

With the current pandemic many people are in their homes and cannot escape the smell of smoke if a neighbour chooses to have a bonfire. People must consider the health of others during these unique times. Coronavirus is a respiratory disease and people’s breathing could be worsened due to smoke inhalation.

We appreciate that the waste recycling facilities are closed. Therefore we would strongly urge that appropriate garden waste is either composted where able/practical or disposed of using the brown bins provided. Any surplus waste is then stored for either the next brown bin collection or for when the waste recycling centres are back open. Or simply let the job wait until the waste recycling facilities are re-open to the public.

Whilst there are no smoke control areas in this district and there are no laws against having occasional bonfires we are asking if people could also support their neighbours by not lighting bonfires while the pandemic continues. Smoke can pose a risk to people’s health, so avoiding fires will reduce the chance of people having their airways affected and avoid further burden on the NHS.

We have powers to deal with smoke nuisance from any bonfire and for dark smoke offences on commercial and industrial premises.

For a bonfire to be a legal nuisance we would consider the following:

  • How much smoke is being created and does it affect nearby properties?
  • What is being burnt? - the type of material being burned affects how much smoke is being produced/ how noxious the fumes from the smoke are;
  • How often do the bonfires occur? A single bonfire is unlikely to be a nuisance even though it may cause annoyance to one or more neighbours.

We operate an emergency out of hours service to provide response to serious or ongoing environmental health related incidents such as noise and smoke complaints. You can contact us out of office hours on 0800 160 1022. A call handler will answer your call and advise you appropriately on what action can be taken. A professional officer can be deployed to an incident if this is appropriate.

If a bonfire gets out of hand and becomes dangerous call 999 and ask for the Fire Service immediately.

Report smoke pollution