Making A Complaint
You have a legal right to complain to your local council about an air pollution problem in your neighbourhood. Most complaints that local councils receive from the general public relate to dark smoke and fumes from garden bonfires, smoking chimneys, dust from buildings, demolition activity and cooking smells from restaurants. These complaints are normally considered under the law relating to statutory nuisance. A statutory nuisance is an act prejudicial to health or one that unreasonably affects the use or enjoyment of your property.
- Domestic complaints
- If your neighbour is responsible for the air pollution (for example, through smoke from a garden bonfire or a barbecue) try to resolve the problem directly with the neighbour. If this fails, lodge a complaint with the environmental unit of your local council.
- Complaints about Small Industries or Commercial Premises
- You can also complain to your local authority about air pollution from commercial premises (such as dry cleaners or restaurants) and small industries.
- Abatement Notices/Abatement Orders
- Your local authority can issue an abatement notice to a person responsible for a statutory nuisance. Refusal or failure to comply with an abatement notice is an offence and may result in legal proceedings and payment of a fine of up to £5,000 for domestic premises and £20,000 for commercial premises.
- If your local authority is unable or unwilling to deal with the statutory nuisance, you can make a complaint to a magistrates’ court. If the court is satisfied that there is an existing nuisance, it may issue an abatement order which prohibits reoccurrence of the nuisance. The abatement order would usually require the person responsible to carry out works within a fixed time to prevent reoccurrence.
- Complaints about large scale industries
- If you are in England contact the Environment Agency about air pollution from large industries such as power stations and chemical plants. If you are in Wales, contact Natural Resources Wales. If you are in Scotland contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. If you are in Northern Ireland contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.