Air pollution

Actions on air quality

Control of emissions from new developments

The Pollution Control Team provides comment and advice on planning applications that have the potential to significantly impact on air quality. As the whole of the borough is an Air Quality Management Area, developers are required to submit an Air Quality Assessment with applications for developments that are likely to lead to an increase in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and/or PM10. Where appropriate, we will request that an Air Quality Neutral assessment is carried out. For more information on assessing the air quality impacts from new developments, click on the Information for developers page.

Control of emissions from chimneys

The whole of the borough has been declared a Smoke Control Area. It is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to allow dark smoke to be emitted from a chimney (or similar) within a Smoke Control Area. This applies to domestic properties as well as commercial and industrial premises. In practice, this means that is an offence to burn ordinary logs and coal in an open fireplace or other appliance that is not exempt. More information, including the lists of authorised (smokeless) fuels and exempt appliances can be found on the DEFRA webpage.

Control of smoke from bonfires

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to burn materials likely to give rise to dark smoke on commercial premises. Such materials include soft furnishings, carpet, rubber and treated wood. Regulations on the disposal of waste may also apply. Therefore, we encourage businesses to have a contract in place for disposing of all waste that it is unable to reuse or recycle.

The regulations do not apply to bonfires on domestic premises so garden bonfires are permitted. However, subject to certain exemptions, we are able to take action where pollutants originating from any premises are found to be prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance.

More information about garden bonfires can be found here

Air Pollution Alerts

AirText is a free service that alerts subscribers prior to days when air pollution levels are predicted to be higher. The service is available to all but is particularly useful for those who suffer from conditions such as asthma, emphysema, angina, etc and their carers so that precautions can be taken.

Low Pollution Walking Routes

As well as great exercise, walking instead of travelling by motor vehicle helps to reduce levels of air pollution. The route can be planned using a journey planner which can show the most direct route as well as the route where the air pollution levels are the lowest. is also available as a phone app and provides information on calories burned, CO2 saved as well as showing the hill profile for the route chosen.