Smoke control, air quality, pollution and odour
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Smoke control, air quality, pollution and odour

Use this page to find out about smoke control areas in Leeds, problem bonfires, and issues with air quality, dust and smoke.

You can report any of these issues using the Report air pollution or odour form.


Smoke control areas

A large number of areas in Leeds are controlled by smoke control orders. You can check whether your house is in a smoke control area by:

  • Go to the Where I live section
  • type your postcode into the Postcode field
  • Click Search
  • the results page will show you if there is a smoke control restriction where you live.

Areas not subject to restrictions about what they can burn are usually found in the former industrial parts of the city and some of the more outlying areas.


Fuels and appliances in smoke control areas

The fuels that can be burned in smoke control areas are governed by Defra as is installed equipment. When you purchase a stove or other solid fuel appliance the installer should check where you live and give some guidance on whether the equipment you wish to purchase is appropriate.

Full details of the fuels and appliances can be found on the Defra website.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Bonfires

Smoke control areas do not prevent occasional bonfires or restrict what they can burn. If a bonfire is causing a nuisance you can report this using the Report air pollution or odour form.​​​​​​​​​


Air quality monitoring

Leeds City Council monitors the air quality levels in the city and surrounding areas. For more information please visit our air quality monitoring page​.​

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More information on how we investigate these complaints

Click to expandWhat information do I need to provide?

To be able to investigate your complaint we need certain information:

- Your name and address as well as a contact telephone number – for legal reasons we cannot accept anonymous complaints;
- Information on what type of nuisance is allegedly causing the problem and why you think it is happening;
- Where specifically the alleged nuisance is coming from including the address of any premises and/or location of any source;
- The days of the week and times of the day it usually occurs;
- How long the problem lasts for;
- If the problem has happened before – when;
- If you expect the problem is likely to occur again;
- How the alleged nuisance is affecting you;
- Whether you have contacted the source of the problem and if so what happened;
- If you will be willing to support formal action including providing nuisance diaries, witness statements and using monitoring equipment.

Click to expandWhat will happen with my air quality, pollution or odour complaint?

We investigate complaints in a balanced way based on evidence. We must act according to the law and any relevant guidance or codes of practice. Allegations of nuisance are serious and investigations can lead to criminal sanctions against the alleged perpetrator if proven.

When you make a complaint to us and we decide to investigate, you have an important role to play. We will ask you to support your allegations with evidence, such as by keeping a nuisance diary, making recordings using our equipment and providing a witness statement for use in court.

We usually start our investigation by speaking to the alleged perpetrator, as often an informal approach helps to quickly solve the problem. If an informal approach does not work we will continue to investigate your allegations further but will ask that you provide us with evidence.

Click to expandWhat evidence do you need?

The Environmental Protection Team investigates statutory nuisance. A statutory nuisance is where there is unreasonable and substantial interference with the use of land. It must either make you do something significantly different to avoid it or it does not allow you to do something you normally would in a serious way.

When we consider a statutory nuisance, we must look at matters in a balanced way, to establish whether we can help you with your complaint.

This includes:

The days of the week and times of day the problem happens;
How long the problem lasts for;
How often it happens;
How it affects you and how it would affect the average person;
Are other people affected? We will contact them as part of the investigation; 
The nature of the local area - for example the mix of residential, commercial and agricultural premises;

In some instances when all these factors and any relevant case law is taken into account, what you believe is a nuisance may not be a statutory nuisance and we may not be able to investigate your complaint. If this is the case we will advise you why.

In some cases we may ask you to keep a ‘nuisance diary’. This is to tell us in more detail about how and when the problem affects you. We may ask you to keep diaries for as long as our investigation is open. We use the information provided by your diary and any other evidence provided to decide if and when to make a site visit. We may also use your diary as evidence to support the service of a legal notice or as evidence in court proceedings. As these are criminal investigations it is therefore important that the information you give is clear and accurate.

Investigations can take days, weeks and even months before they reach a conclusion. If we decide to take formal action we may also ask you for a witness statement to support your allegations and attend and answer questions in court. There is no guarantee that formal action will be successful and what you believe is a nuisance may not be a statutory nuisance.

Click to expandWill you tell the person causing the problem who I am?

Not unless you want us to, or until we take formal action. Due to the rules of evidence we may need to provide your details at a court hearing. We will discuss this with you beforehand. For legal reasons we cannot accept anonymous complaints.

Click to expandInvolvement by other agencies

In some cases certain industrial and agricultural premises and process are covered by types of environmental permits and any investigation of complaints or enforcement may fall to the other teams, departments or agencies such as the Environment Agency. If this is the case we will provide you with details of the relevant team, department or agency to contact.

Click to expandWill you take action if I do not want to or cannot provide a diary or other supporting evidence?

Any formal action we take without your evidence may not be effective as we are less able to show how the problem affects you or anyone who lives or works nearby. We are unlikely to investigate a complaint further without a diary or other supporting evidence. If you cannot keep a diary please explain the reason to us so that we may consider a suitable alternative.

Click to expandIf you cannot help me, what else can I do?

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Section 82 allows you to take your own action through the Magistrates Court. You should write to those involved to give them warning and keep a copy for your records.

You may take action for a ‘private nuisance’. This will involve the local county court. You should ask your solicitor for advice beforehand.   


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