Reduced Services

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

In line with social distancing advice and to protect residents and staff the Council has taken the decision to close the Council offices to the public until further notice.

Whilst the offices are closed to visitors, you are still able to access services and information from this website 24/7.

Information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to access Council Services during this period can be found on our Coronavirus information page

We ask that all residents #StayHomeSaveLives – see a Message from the Leader of the Council

Bonfires

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Castle Point Borough Councils Environmental Health Service offers the following advice in respect of bonfires: 

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus with severe implications. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, pneumonia and respiratory illness. In respect of this, bonfires can be detrimental to breathing as they create thick smoke, soot and ash which can hinder normal respiration.  

During this lockdown period and particularly in this nice weather we ask that residents refrain from having bonfires. The law has not changed, but the effect they may have on your neighbours is at best unpleasant, and at worst can cause a statutory nuisance. It is not reasonable at this time to fill the air with smoke which could make an already trying situation worse for someone. Please be understanding and fair to those around you. 

Please be aware that any complaints regarding bonfires may result in an abatement notice being served upon those responsible under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 79 (1) (b). 

For ways of disposing of your garden waste or for advice on composting, please use this link https://www.castlepoint.gov.uk/recycling/

 We thank you for your cooperation during this difficult time. Stay safe

 

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 environmental_health@castlepoint.gov.uk

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.

Refer to

Highways

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

 

Cable Burning

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

 

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

 

Chimney Heights

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

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

Statutory Nuisance

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

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:

Plant Tissue

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.

Refer to Environmental Health Team

Contact the Environmental Health Team

Please contact us on 01268 882200 or alternatively email us at environmental_health@castlepoint.gov.uk