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Every year the Environmental Health Department receive a large number of complaints about bonfires causing a repeated nuisance. Such nuisances need never arise if due consideration is shown to our neighbours.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows the Local Authority to take offenders to court should their bonfires cause a nuisance to neighbours (i.e. have an unreasonable effect on their enjoyment of their home or garden). Moreover any bonfire on trade premises which causes dark smoke is an offence regardless of whether anybody else is affected (Section 2 - Clean Air Act 1993).
The following information provides details on who you should contact if you are affected by bonfire or smoke nuisance. Any complaints which are to be made to Environmental Health can be made to the Council by contacting us on 01268 882200 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are considering having a bonfire then please read
Unsupervised or Dangerous Bonfires
If a bonfire is left unattended or is dangerous then contact Essex Fire and Rescue Service.
If smoke drifts across the highway where it causes or might cause an accident, this is potentially an offence under the Highways (Amendment) Act 1986. There is a maximum penalty of £5,000 for this offence and could result in possible private action for damages by people who suffer loss or harm due to the smoke.
Refer to Essex Police
Clean Air Act 1993
Prohibition of Dark Smoke from Chimneys
It is an offence to emit dark smoke from the chimney of any building (including houses). Maximum fine of £1000 for a private dwelling and £5000 for an industrial or trade premises.
Prohibition of Dark Smoke from Industrial and Trade Premises other than from chimneys (Bonfires)
It is an offence to emit dark or black smoke or burn material that is likely to give rise to dark or black smoke on industrial and trade premises or on premises not so used but if burnt in connection with any industrial or trade process. If a bonfire is producing or likely to produce dark or black smoke by the burning of trade or commercial waste, then the persons responsible may be liable to fines of up to £20,000. The Council does not need to serve a notice first.
It is an offence to burn insulation from a cable with a view to recovering metal from the cable. The persons responsible may be liable to fines of up to £5,000. The Council does not need to serve a notice first.
Control of Grit and Dust from Furnaces
Furnaces used in buildings require plant for arresting grit and dust which has been approved by the LA and be properly maintained and used.
In relation to chimneys from these furnaces, the occupier of a furnace of a building or the person having possession of any fixed boiler or industrial plant outside of a building, must not use that furnace unless the height of its chimney has been approved by the Council and any conditions of approval are complied with.
Smoke Control Areas
The main purpose of a smoke control area is to reduce pollution from domestic chimneys within the district by prohibiting the burning of fuels such as coal and wood on open fires. Smoke control legislation does not apply to garden bonfires.
There are no smoke control areas in Castle Point.
Environmental Protection Act 1990
If the smoke, fly ash or gritty particles associated with a bonfire cause a nuisance to others then this is a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Council can serve a notice to abate the nuisance and/or prevent it from happening again. If the person responsible does not comply with the notice then they can be fined up to £5,000 in a domestic situation or £20,000 in a commercial one.
Burning of Trade Waste (Duty of Care)
Sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a Duty of Care on waste producers. This requires waste producers to ensure that all waste produced, stored or transferred does not adversely impact upon the environment or human health. The duty of care makes it illegal to burn commercial waste on site, or to dispose of waste without a waste transfer note or contract.
Sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 are enforced by the Environment Agency. It is possible to gain an exemption certificate for the burning of the following materials:
Sawdust, shavings and cuttings from untreated wood only
Waste bark and wood
Refer to Environment Agency (although there may well be offences committed under the Clean Air Act and it may cause a statutory nuisance so also Refer to Environmental Health Team)
Burning of Crop Residues
The burning of certain crop residues are exempted under certain circumstances. There are however detailed restrictions on allowable burning and notice must be given to the Council and occupiers of any adjacent premises.
Please contact us on 01268 882200 or alternatively email us at email@example.com