Smoke pollution

Sefton have powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Clean Air Act 1993 to investigate complaints of smoke pollution. To make a formal smoke complaint please telephone 0345 140 0845.

Smoke problems that we can deal with 

Check if a property is in a Smoke Control Area

Smoke problems we do not deal with

Check if a property is in a Smoke Control Area

Contact us by ringing 0345 140 0845.

You will need to provide:

  • Your name, address, valid email address and contact telephone number
  • Full details of the location of the source of complaint.
  • The colour of the smoke

An officer will endeavour to contact you within one working day to discuss the compliant and explain how your complaint will be investigated. Following this a warning letter may be sent to the source of the smoke pollution or a site visit may be undertaken to witness the problem that you are complaining about.

As part of the investigation you may be requested to complete and return smoke log sheets and further surveillance visits may be undertaken by Council Officers

The investigating officer will keep you updated on the progress of the investigation. If the problem is not resolved and evidence is obtained by the Council formal action may be taken under the Clean Air Act 1993 or the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

We recommended that you contact the source of the problem in the first instance as the person causing the smoke may not know they are creating a problem.

If this does not resolve the problem or you don’t feel able to approach the smoke source and you wish to make a formal complaint you can do so by ringing 0345 140 0845.  Your smoke complaint should include: 

  • Your name, address, valid e-mail address and contact telephone number
  • The exact address  where  the smoke is coming from
  • The type of smoke, how long it has been happening and what you have done to try to deal with it

We aim to respond to domestic smoke complaints within five working days of receipt of your complaint.

When we receive your request, an Investigating Officer will be assigned to your case and will contact you to ensure you understand the investigation procedure and advise you of the next steps in the process.

After discussion with yourself it may be appropriate for the Investigating officer to write to the  source of the smoke to try and resolve the matter at an early stage.

If the problem continues over the next one to three weeks, you should complete and return the smoke log sheet that you will have received in the post or by email.

After completing the smoke log sheet please sign, date, copy and return the log sheet to the e-mail or freepost address provided in your acknowledgement.

The log sheet must include the reference number you were assigned when you reported the smoke complaint. Your investigating Officer will review the log and contact you to discuss the case.

Your investigating Officer will review this log and contact you to discuss the case. If no further action can be taken you will be advised of this at this point. If further action is possible the  source may be issued with a further warning and monitoring visits may be undertaken.

If the problem continues  and officers are able to witness a problem enforcement action may be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the Clean Air Act 1993. You may be required to complete further log sheets, provide witness statements and attend court.

The burning of domestic and garden waste is strongly discouraged by Sefton Council and alternative methods of disposal are provided by the Council such as the household recycling sites

It is not illegal to have a garden bonfire, however, if you burn and cause a smoke nuisance the Council may take legal action against you.

If you burn and create a smoke nuisance or dark smoke on industrial/trade premises you may be committing an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and/or the Clean air Act 1993. The Environment Agency also have enforcement powers if you are found to be burning waste as part of a trade or business.

Last Updated on 16 October 2017

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