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Neighbour Guide: Wood Burning Stoves and Chimineas

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 23 Dec 2019 | comments*Discuss
Wood Smoke Burning Neighbour Wood

Many people in the UK have wood-burning stoves. Some houses need these for heat, whilst others use them as a decorative room feature. However the problem with wood burning stoves and chimineas is that they give off smoke as they burn.

UK Smoke Control Areas

Under the Clear Air Act of 1993 (consolidating the 1956 and 1968 Acts designed to deal with smog), local authorities can designate some areas of their region to be a 'smoke control area'. In these areas, it is an offence to emit smoke from a chimney, a furnace or any fixed boiler. It is also an offence to acquire 'unauthorised fuel' for use in a 'smoke control area'.

Are there any laws about what is burnt in a chimnea? Our neighbour seems to burn any wood that comes to hand which at times causes copious amounts of smoke, preventing my family enjoying our garden and forcing us to close our windows.

The maximum punishment for each offence is a £1000 fine. Your Local Authority will be able to advise of any 'smoke control areas' in your local region. You can find numbers to contact your local authority.

Some exempt fuels and exempt appliances can be still used in these areas. These have passed tests to ensure that they burn without producing smoke. A list of exempt fuels/appliances can be obtained here.

What About Other Relevant Legal Requirements?

There are legal requirements about the design specification and installation of wood burning appliances. This is to ensure that these are correctly ventilated to allow fuel to burn cleanly, and ensure that appliances do not release dangerous carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide into people's homes.

Manufacturers and installers of these appliances will be aware of relevant legal requirements and they will be responsible for compliance with these. However the current legal requirements for the UK can be found in Buildings Regulations Document J, Table 1.

Smoke and 'Nuisance'

Clearly, smoke blowing into your garden or house is "a nuisance", and can affect your enjoyment of your property, especially if this prevents you sitting in your garden, or opening windows. However this may also be a legal 'nuisance'.

Legally, the term nuisance refers to a legal tort, or civil wrong. It is used to describe:

  • a) An activity that is harmful or annoying for others (e.g. a smoking chimney)
  • b) The harm caused by the activity above (e.g. objectionable odour)
  • c) The legal liability that arises from the combination of (a) and (b)

You have a right to quiet enjoyment of your property. This is the same right that stops your landlord carrying out weekly inspections of their property. A legal nuisance is an act that interferes with this right (such as forcing you to close your windows or preventing you sitting in the garden). This type of nuisance is often referred to as a private nuisance.

The case of Bamford v Turnley defined private nuisance as:

"any continuous activity or state of affairs causing a substantial and unreasonable interference with a claimant's land or his use and enjoyment of that land".

I live in a UK city which has seen a great increase in the use of not only wood burning stoves but also the use of smokeless fuel. Being surrounded by 3 houses in a built up area that regularly pump out smoke and fumes, it is not a comfortable or healthy environment.

As far as I can see none of these activities tick the environmental box or consider the health implications. Do we have a legitimate cause for action?

Whether any activity constitutes a nuisance will depend on how it affects you, and the reasonableness of the activity. This will include considerations such as the time of day the activity is carried out (for example DIY is a reasonable activity, but not if it involves hammering after midnight every night).

The court will also consider the area that you live in. For example a built up area can be expected to be noisier than a rural area. The case of Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather Plc stated that if a defendant was using their land unreasonably and causing a nuisance, they will still be liable, even if they used reasonable care to avoid doing so. The test is really if the action was unreasonable, and if the resulting nuisance was reasonably foreseeable.

Long Term Nuisance Can Become Legal

It is a defence to a nuisance claim that if a private nuisance has continued for 20 years, it becomes legal. If you have been aware of a continuous nuisance caused by your neighbour for over 20 years, you will not therefore have a claim in nuisance.

However if you moved into your Property after your neighbour was already burning wood, and so committing the nuisance, this will not be a defence according to the courts. (The 1879 case of Sturges v Bridgman states that there is no defence that the Claimant came to the nuisance).

If a court finds that a neighbour has committed a private nuisance, they can:

  1. make an award for damages (money) to be paid to you
  2. make an injunction to prevent an act being carried out

Often a private nuisance will also be an environmental nuisance (for example light pollution). You can therefore ask your Local Environmental Health Officer to attend your property and report on the conditions. This will be useful evidence in your case.

Options to Prevent a Nuisance

We have a neighbour who has a wood burning stove that frequently floods our house with fumes. Having spoken to the Local Environmental officer we are assured that the appliance conforms to the legal requirements and therefore our only redress is a civil case. As we do not have the funds to do this can you suggest an alternative?

Depending on the nuisance being caused, you may have several options to take private action. These may include:

  • taking action for statutory nuisance in the Magistrates Court
  • taking civil action to get an injunction
  • mediation

You may also apply to the Magistrates Court if, though a nuisance has currently stopped, it is likely to reoccur on the same premises.

Of course the easiest and cheapest way to address a nuisance is to speak to your neighbours. Do they realise that the smoke from their fire is blowing into your house or preventing you using your garden? Particularly in the case of outdoor fires, it may be that these could be moved to a different side of their property to prevent this problem.

Taking Your Case to Court

If you wish to take your case to court, you can get free legal advice on this from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/getadvice.htm). Unfortunately free legal advice is not available through the Legal Aid scheme for this type of legal proceeding. Here are a few keys points to consider:

  • Notice of court action - You will need to provide notice of your intention to take court action (under part 7, section 82 Environmental Protection Act 1990) at least 3 days before doing so for any noise nuisance, and at least 21 days before for any other type of nuisance.
  • Fee - There is a fee for making a complaint to the Magistrates Court (approximately £24, but you can check this with your local Magistrates Court) www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/HMCSCourtFinder
  • Serve a notice on your neighbour - You will need to serve notice on the offending neighbour. You should keep a record of doing this, so many people chose to send a recorded delivery letter. Service could also be affected by a hand-delivered letter, but you would have no record to prove that this was delivered.
  • Represent yourself - You can conduct your case yourself, without legal representation if you wish to do so.
  • Be prepared -Be aware that the defendant may make counter-accusations and also call witnesses.
  • Costs - If you are successful, you may recover some or all of your costs from the other party. However if you are unsuccessful, you may be required to pay some or all of their costs.
  • Breaches of injunction - If an injunction is granted, you will need to go back to court if this is breached to enforce the order.

What evidence will you need to take your case to court?

There are no rules about what evidence you will need in court; you simply need enough evidence to prove your case. Try to make sure that for every point you make, you can back up what you are saying with evidence; it is up to you prove your case on the balance of probabilities. Any evidence you wish to rely on must however be relevant, and go to proving / disproving an element of nuisance (not simply showing that your neighbour is annoying in some other manner).

Here are a few different types of evidence you may want to obtain to support your case:

1) Photographic evidence - take pictures of the smoke blowing into your house / garden. Is soot covering your personal belongings? Take pictures of this.

2) Damaged items - if sooty smoke / ash is blowing into your house / garden, put items (e.g. teddy bears) in a plastic bag as evidence that soot is damaging your property.

3) Witness statements - as well as you giving evidence, you could ask other neighbours / friends to visit your Property and witness the problem themselves. Your witnesses must have witnessed the problem themselves however; they cannot simply give evidence that you told them there was a problem, as this is classed as 'hearsay' by the courts and won't be allowed.

4) Reports by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) - if an EHO has visited your Property you may rely on their report or test readings. However if the report indicates a nuisance to the public at large, often the EHO will take on the case against the offending party themselves.

Note that any evidence that you wish to rely on will have to be disclosed to the other party if you take your case to court. You will therefore have to provide your neighbour with copy statements and photographs.

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I sincerely hope the government does something about this. I'm in the Cardiff area, a middle class area and all the twits around here think filling the air with particles that KILL us is trendy and hip. You can't open the window with out stinking the house up, no the smell wouldn't bother me if I knew it was harmless but it is, isn't it? These painfully middle class twits are pumping particles - the likes of which we find in the worst diesel fumes - directly in to your lungs so they can feel 'cosy.' It about sums up the state of Britain doesn't it? These people are so self absorbed, hyper individualistic and shallow. I'm politically neutral and I don't wish to take an environment stance what really concerns me is the health of myself, my children and the few neighbours around here that aren't buggers. A lot of people's lives are being shortened, some of us in this area will probably end up with serious complications down the line. I don't know where else to turn. It's shameful. Apologies for the rant it's just depressing to know people are selfish enough to pull this kind of rubbish.
Iwan - 23-Dec-19 @ 7:44 PM
I sincerely hope the government does something about this. I'm in the Cardiff area, a middle class area and all the twits around here think filling the air with particles that KILL us is trendy and hip. You can't open the window with out stinking the house up, no the smell wouldn't bother me if I knew it was harmless but it is, isn't it? These painfully middle class twits are pumping particles - the likes of which we find in the worst diesel fumes - directly in to your lungs so they can feel 'cosy.' It about sums up the state of Britain doesn't it? These people are so self absorbed, hyper individualistic and shallow. I'm politically neutral and I don't wish to take an environment stance what really concerns me is the health of myself, my children and the few neighbours around here that aren't buggers. A lot of people's lives are being shortened, some of us in this area will probably end up with serious complications down the line. I don't know where else to turn. It's shameful. Apologies for the rant it's just depressing to know people are selfish enough to pull this kind of rubbish.
Iwan - 23-Dec-19 @ 7:43 PM
A family with young children, my neighbours, burn all types of wood, treated and non permitted types included and what smells like coal or similar, regularly. I can smell and therefore I breathe, these dangerous P2.5 emissions. Having spoken with the father about my concerns and experiences living next to them during their burning, he replied, that this is not a smoke free area so he's allowed to burn and pollute our air. I explained his children are at particular risk with these types of emissions as evidenced by extensive research, yet it makes no difference to his behaviour. Within a country that speaks so loud about car and industrial emissions and becoming a carbon neutral nation within a few years, hypocritically the lawmakers simply allow this home burning behaviour to continue, unchallenged. A clear example of the inconsistency of British Law, in some areas smoke emissions are allowed and in others they're not. How can that make any sense, and how are the people, paid by our taxes, allowed to make such unfathomable inconsistent decisions? Respiratory conditions exacerbated by poor air quality, a major NHS expense, would be improved overnight if a ban on home burning at least in built up areas where burning is completely unnecessary.
Vent - 16-Nov-19 @ 2:28 AM
We discovered that the chimney between our terrace and the neighbour’s leaks when she moved in and started to have wood fires which come through the wall. She is refusing to have this fixed unless we share the cost of a liner with her which seems unfair as she is causing a hazard. It’s a very different case to smoke coming through open windows so I feel there should be clearer recourse when she knows the chimney is unlined but burns fires anyway?
Leakychimney - 8-Nov-19 @ 6:12 PM
woodsmoke is 4000times worse thansmoking and double diesel and mustbe addictivealso 70% of tiny particlesgetthroughdbleglazingand settlein house stayingharmfulfor 3 wks so yourreinhale these meaning1 wood orcoal fireevery3 wks gives lung damage assmoke causes lung damage in1hour --plusplanet pollutionand whypeople died young in past--herein torbay weve no smokeless zoneandgreedy lazy tories doing nothing and town looks 3rd world and tatty
greta - 29-Oct-19 @ 12:59 AM
Ilive inTorquayand8 yrsago hadtomove from my village as neighbour had dailywoodfiresthat blew myway --like living in a bonfire --I had good lungs with no probsbeforeshe movedin & 1st 3exposures was upsloplng garden&smoke stunkofchemicals thatmade me choke&eyes stream that went on for 1yrs severe coughing&daily woodsmoke on top leaving acrackle from my chest &on inhaler to breathe-moving twice to get away from woodburner addicts here one neighbour smokes me out&environment dpt refused helpsaying -these people may say itstheir only heating-when I said we dont live by gaslight &all have electricity &gas !They said we wont talk to you anymore -I said do the job you arepaid for but theywont & next door neighbours died of cancer&now daily smoke ,even tried cellotapeon windows !Now I will trylawyersletter to smokers and council cost £200 each pluslungdamage daily&discomfort-eventhought of living on a boat-why hasnt london mayor started ban not just talked?
greta - 29-Oct-19 @ 12:49 AM
Hi Zara 1) you move, even with the upset this causes during pregnancy. 2) buy an air quality monitorthat tells you what the situation is in your home. Combine this with when to put your air purifier on at home. Your monitor will tell you when this is safe to do so, and save running your filters on your air purifier unnecessarily. 3)and this is a biggie. Look very closely and research what your air purifier does for you. Anything that is not an I.Q. Health Pro Plus is likely to be next to uselessas it will only clear upwards of 0.3. Micrograms, whereas the I.Q. air cleans down to 0.003. This is important as it is the tiny, tiny smoke particles called p.m. 2.5 that poses you the biggest risk. P.M. 2.5 means simply Particulate Matter 2.5 micrograms and below. This is what devastates your deep lung tissue. You will hear a lot more on this in the future. You can buy an I.Q.Air health pro plus for around £900(I know, gulp) through Allergy Cosmos web site. By all means look at cheaper air purifiers too. I need at least three for my house as I have upstairs bedrooms. Good Luck. People should not be so blade with the air quality of their neighbours.
Baffleditsallowedk - 17-Oct-19 @ 2:00 PM
Hi there! I just need a quick advice regarding my neighbours wood burning chimneys, as I’m expecting and the wood smoke creates severe respiratory problem for me because my windows are open at night. The neighbour has started wood burning in early morning and evening and because of that my whole house fills with smoke and it makes me unable to breathe even after closing windows and using air purifier. I’m worried because it’s my first pregnancy and i’m unable to breathe properly most of the time because of carbon monoxide in my home. What should I do in this situation plus I don’t want any trouble with the neighbours I’m afraid of their reaction and I can’t handle any argues and fight. Thank you
Zara - 16-Oct-19 @ 8:15 AM
I'm afraid that I have put up with a problem that has now become a nusinance and I have a healthy problem. Requiring my windows to be open all the time to gain an extra flow for my machine a converter to work it must have a good outside flow of air. My neighbours have a ideathat burning doesn't effort any body. Maybe they don't realise. I have to confront them as it's recyclable garden waste. I'm unable to work but still afford our charges each year to have out brown bin filled & emptied by the council. He even has grandchildren I wonder if he knows it's causing a problem.
Zed - 7-Sep-19 @ 3:42 PM
My neighbour has a small woodburning stove in the living room yet the amount of unchopped wood he gets delivered, great big tree stumps & think branches is unbelieable. I don't mind but he sounds ages shopping it with an axe not more than 2 meters from my house. The noise & vibration is unbelievable. Yet he had a 20m garden where he could easily chop all the wood there, where he stores it. I gave told him about chopping it all up do close to the house but he just ignores me. He also chopped it up weekends and weekday evenings. Not great to come home to after a hard day at work. He is driving me crazy!
Ivanian - 18-Apr-19 @ 3:26 PM
I'd like advice please.My elderly parents neighbour has installed a single stories extension and fitted a wood burner to the back wall. Every day my parents car and garden is covered in soot and little pieces of embers. He's not interested as says it's normal.Is it ?
Caz - 18-Mar-19 @ 10:01 AM
I love the psuedo caveman description as i have one living next door on a 1970 built housing estate.He frequently has a chainsaw going then the fire pit starts up. But this week even worse he has had a woodburning stove installed. We are very close built properties and the chimney and flue go up the side of the house. Yesterday i went in the bedroom closest to this chimney and it stank strongly of smoke as all my windows are kept on the jar (double glazed) to allow fresh air to circulate.I quickly pushed window open wide to allow it to escape. He was outside looking at it, so he knows its wrong, i shouted down what was wrong and told him to get the installers back as something was wrong with it and i should not have a bedroom full of smoke as someone has to sleep in here. He quickly ran inside making some statement that i could not here. We have lived here 13 years and do so as quietly as possible although other neighbours have had psuedo caveman problems with him. Then last year our side of the fence came under attack from him.His garden borders 4 neighbours due to cul de sac arrangement. Real problem is his personality does not fit the house he bought (which was cheap) so all have to suffer his anti social habits.
abused by smoke - 11-Mar-19 @ 6:13 AM
My neighbour has a wood burning fire and has it on all day but What I don't get is why they need both heating and a fire. My daughter has a life long condition called cysticfibrosis which effects her and she really doesn't need the smoke coming in our house and breathing it in.
Worried for daughter - 31-Jan-19 @ 10:56 PM
Just watched tonight's news. Seems that it has dawned on the politicians that pollution is a bad thing. They want to "limit" the damage that burning wood in stoves and open fires is doing. The analogue drawn tonight on bbc news is that a single woodburning stove emits the same small particle (the deadliest kind if particle) volume as a diesel TRUCK ticking its engine over all day. I have 3 wood burners next to me, a clown across the garden fence that burns wood in a garden grate on summer nights, a twit who has a wooden stove in his hut, and eleven coal fires all around me. I bought an i.q. Air monitor £250 and it showed the deadly particles called pm 2.5 was a n unbelievable score of 99.(any score above 3 is potentially serious, and anything above 25 us downright toxic. So i don't feel that sense has broken out and these vile abominations are to go the way they deserve to, of cigarette smoking in public places since there is far too much appeasing of owners of these mad inventions. Pray god though that it is end of the begining in movement towards banning this lethal "off the grid" romance too many middle class and otherwise sane people have with shedding this poison into our home, our breaths, and our children.
Baffleditsallowed - 14-Jan-19 @ 7:27 PM
North Wales 'Environmental Health' Departments responsible for wilfully failing to take measures to protect a resident from the adverse consequences of coal and wood fire burning, the natutal environment and public health at large; in addition to refusing to enforce legislation (e.g Environmental Protection Act, Clean Air Acts) and make use of provisions available to protect health and safety. I have also been met with abusive, deceitful and intimidatory conduct by the principal officer. I first contacted the department after I moved into the property and experienced daily exposure to toxic coal burning by the neighbours and was treated appallingly by the department. Despite the irrefutable scientific facts and evidence presented the officers replying by email minimised and whitewashed my concerns and refused to intervene. On account of the abysmal failure of the department I have been forced to suffer years of harmful and nauseating acrid coal smoke pollution including outside wood stove burning by the adjacent neighbours and other residents committing the same offences; including the local pub with two chimneys bellowing out black coal smoke. My doctor supports my case and can verify the real and detrimental affects solid fuel inhalation has on the human respiratory system andthe environment. I have medical evidence recording a prolonged cough, sore throat and chest including symptoms of heavy passive smoking and choking although I do not smoke. Every day on the calendar I log repeated occurences of the burning throughout the day and night -365 days a year- in all weathers; causing immense distress and feeling trapped being unable to open the windows freely to ventilate the old building and go outside without being made to reek of acrid sooty coal and having to shower again and rewash clothing. I can hardly even put washing on the line outside. The stench from the coal also affects my exercise routine as it prevents my taking a jog freely around the local park as the stench and smog envelops the whole atmosphere and my lungs. I contacted the environmental health deptartment and spoke a number of times to an officer based there.She asked me to complete log sheets and misled this would be looked into. I presented evidence of times and dates since moving in to the flat over 3 years ago and posted to the department. I also sent video footage and photographic evidence of the black coal smoke bellowing out of the chimney regularly. At no time did the council officers attend the exact site of the offences and did not investigate properly as they had no intention. I have also witnessed the coal merchants who supply the offending property deliver coal every week. The officers indefensible response was to excuse themselves from taking action and the only letter they sent to the property (when I contacted them again after a long period, due to their refusal to intervene); was only to ask they examine the manner in which their solid fuel ap
Right to clean air - 24-Nov-18 @ 10:18 PM
Did any of the people who told their stories above know about the Government's Consultation on cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood? It closed last week (12 Oct 18).If everyone who contributed to this forum also contributed to the Clean Air consultation, it would help avoid some of the disastrous mistakes made by the counter-productive and misguided promotion of diesels. Last year, the New Scientist review made it clear that log-burning stoves are harming our health and also speeding up global warming. So the current and proposed policies are a double whammy - bad for our health and bad for the planet. Anyone who missed the opportunity to contribute to the Clean Air Consultation should find out if they can belatedly have their say. More info: consult defra gov uk/airquality/domestic-solid-fuel-regulations/ (replace spaces with dots).
CaresAboutHealth - 17-Oct-18 @ 11:29 PM
Recourse to the authorities doesn't sound very incouraging. I've had a similar problem with anunmaintained water course which runs ceptic tank waste water over the lane.The Environment Agency wrote my neighbour a letter which he ignored. They said they had thousands of similar complaints and only a handfull of officers to respond. I have just had a word with my neighbour (same bloke) re a smokey garden fire lit by the hedge, five yards from my kitchen. (He has six acres of land) With smoke drifting through the hedge I hailed him and I concede I was not polite. His response was that he could do what he liked. He has two WBSs, a chiminea and he is not happy unless he is imposing smoke on his neighbours. Others have complained privately to me about his smoke but are too polite to do anything. This is a pleasant, peacefull rural spot with just six households and yet smoke is causing effing and blinding over the fence. There is no need to burn stuff for domestic perposes anymore. We can heat spaces and dispose of wood in a perfectly sociable way now. A tip, maybe, for bringing a case is that most scrap sawn timber has been treated with toxic preserver and I believe it is an offence to burn it at all, regardless of nuisance.
Nick - 1-Sep-18 @ 4:03 PM
Not only does our neighbour burn scrap timber but his whole back garden is a massive wood store.he has scrap wood everywhere with two sheds less than ten feet from the rear of our house.we have the daily chopping and sawing of wood which is a bummer as i work nights and he is retired.our house smells continually of bonfire and we at our wits end with it all.even today he has had a delivery of yet more wood to process and add to his collection.reading these posts hasnt given memuch hope.we are even talking about moving from our house which we have sunk our life savings into just for a better quality of life.the neighbour himself is a nasty,agressive little man who is very confrontational which worries my wife as i am a martial arts nut and she is petrified i will lose my temper and punch his lights out.the sooner the government sort the laws on burners out tje better.
Bigal - 29-Aug-18 @ 4:27 AM
I can't see the need for use in towns and cities especially when many of these homes will be connected to gas mains. Additionally the fact that council wont act when people are burning dangerous items is ridiculous, not burning the correct materials and not maintaining fire places/burners and chimneys is bad for peoples health but is a fire hazard. Our wood burner has little to no smoke coming out of it, because we use the correct wood inside and maintain it, we also live on the outskirts of a village with only a couple of houses nearby and no issues with smoke over winter. I personally would not object to laws placed on what you can and can't burn, a licence as it were to show proper maintenance and that your wood burner adheres to policy. The fact that people still blatantly ignore environmental laws already in place for other issues makes me think that this issue will never be solved without a total ban, which is a shame for those of us relying on expensive fuel sources.
Villagelife - 7-Jun-18 @ 12:40 PM
Dear smoked out and downright wronged.(uh ...that's the rest of us who want to breathe) The mechanisms of state,be it local or national are deaf to the issue of this woodburning catastrophe for the same reason that america politicians seem to lack the basic wisdom to ban guns. Bear with me, i hope to make sense. The belligerent assertions of the NRA (,national rifle association) that it is their primal right to indulge themselves with their dangerous toys is mirrored in the bellicose righteousness of those off the gridders who want to live out their pseudo caveman fantasies of self sufficency. In the american example some green shoots (,pun alert)of hope can be discerned in the aftermath of the recent school shootings where the younger generation have loudly and persistently demonstrated for a gun ban. The disadvantage we have compared to anti-gun demonstrators is that we don',t yet have the photogenic faces of mothers stricken with grief over their murdered children. Not yet we don,'t. ,No, we have to wait 20, years yet until the cumulative deaths from emphysema, chronic bronchitis, child hood asthma, cancer, reach critical enough mass that even the most glib environmental health officer jumps up and exclaims ,,,"my god!, Something must be done! " You see..dear smoked out...it won',t be government that will ban woodburning stoves, they might pretend to but they won't,not until a genuine counter culture gets mobilised. There are votes in appeasing mobilised masses. What has to happen here is that we must start to look and act like we are the many and the woodburners are the few. What's to be done. First forget the jobsworths from the council. The answer lies in organising demonstrations, waking up the media, pestering the ineffectual Client Earth, postering university campuses (the last group would be crucial) Do you have the energy for this. you'll need it.
Baffleditsallowed - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:02 AM
Just for people to note, hopefully it helps others-We took a neighbour to court for nuisance of woodburner smoke in January 2018,after 3 years of negotiating with neighbour (deaf ears) and also talking with the council (a shambles).After an ALL DAY HEARING in court, we were told by magistrates (who had no experience in this type of hearing) that we had not enough 'scientific evidence'. My poor husband, who has some legal experience, was shattered after presenting the case all himself for 7 hours (we had videos, still photos, a diary of notes). The key point -The neighbour had a 'chief witness' the Council Environmental Health officer who told the court' it was deemed not a nuisance but had potential to be one'.She had told us 2 years previously that we could only have 3 visits to check out our claims. They never even answered the phone! We had had one visit-it took them 40 mins to arrive from Council Offices and by then smoke had dwindled. The Planner passed the chimney stack in 2016 even though it is not even 1m from our fence (should be 1.5m) AND we were never told of the planners decision, even though we had asked for it to be checked out. So, just a heads up about the stress that it can cause if you try court. We have no regrets and it cost us nothing. But it was stressful to do. Also, if you're not happy with ANYTHING about the Council in matters like this, complain within 6 months of their action/lack of action. We didn't and it meant that even the Ombudsman would not deal with our complaints about the Council. I will not give up though -the neighbour has an illegal chimney stack, and I want it down.
Smokedout - 2-Jun-18 @ 11:56 AM
Hello !New neighbour renovating next door,yet to move in.She's had a wood burner installed recently but hasn't used it yet.Her chimney is right opposite my bathroom window,only higher up.Once she starts using her "wonderful" wood burner I won't want to open my bathroom windows.Or any windows. Also my chimney is almost opposite her's so I'll get her muck coming down my chimney too.Lived here for 37 years without having to worry about this problem,now it's all change - for the worse ! I'm ringing Michael Gove's constituency office tomorrow so I can tell them to tell him to ban wood burners.I'm furious !
Fuming - 23-May-18 @ 10:12 PM
My neighbor is lovely, but he’s constantly burning a fire in his back yard, he told me once that he would be burning it and to take my washing inside, but that meant I couldnt dry my washing in my yard, since then he’s not told me and all my clothes stink, even when the windows and doors are shut I can smell it all through my flat, the ashes have blown all into my eyes a few times I’ve been out there making me not like using my yard, I literally only have to walk through my gate and into my house without spending too much time out in it for all my hair and clothes that I’m wearing to smell of it, I do t want to be a kill joy and be in bad terms with my neighbor but it’s so annoying and I hate me and my stuff smelling of it, it’s driving me mad and I have issues about being clean and smelling too ?? is there anything I can do? Also could it be anonymously? Thanks in advance
India Rose - 17-May-18 @ 7:07 PM
I have a problem with my neighour and their wood burning stove. Have Council out testing but not hopeful that they will find or want to do anything. The smell in 2 rooms is horrible. Think they are burning the worse type of wood possible. They are unapproachable and I don't know what to do as I am on my own and have no one to help me. I go to bed every night terrified.
sillyfemale - 2-May-18 @ 10:55 PM
Just thought I'd mention that today I've seen my local MP about the legal farce that applies to both the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection act.Each of these Acts states why a local environmental officer can take action and also why they cant, its an absolute travesty of the law.The people whom you reply on the protect your health and stopped in doing do by the same Legislation that allows them to prosecute. Yet it does not the individual in taking action!!!! My MP is writing to Mr Gove and DEFRA and he was clearly shocked that even though smoke and toxic fumes can enter you homes the local EHOs can do nothing.Have a meeting with your MP and get them to do the same, this is the only sure fire why we are going to get anything done, change the legislation people. Don't just rant on here. You local EHO will email you the legislation and the sections/sub sections as to why they are stopped for taking actions.Get them on board. Lets put pressure on Mr Gove.
dosomething - 14-Apr-18 @ 4:22 PM
I agree with everything that has been said above. Polluting the atmosphere with smoke should be banned in all residential areas, and the ban should be strictly enforced. Our neighbours (the other half of our semi) had conservatory on the back of their house which never caused us problems until they installed a woodturner in it. Now our entire house and garden is nearly uninhabitable whenever they have it on because the prevailing wind blows their clouds of thick, stinking back smoke from the wet driftwood they burn directly onto us. We have lost count f the number of times we have mentioned it to them. The first time they extended the height of their stovepipe, but it doesn't really help. Since then whenever we, or any of the other neighbours who have suffered from it, mention it, we just get the usual 'mind your own business' type of abuse. We have spent thousands on airtight doors and windows (We had to. Our dining room was a complete no go area without them) but the smoke still gets in through the chimneys and air bricks, which we can't really do anything about ,although we have the living room chimney blocked as much as we can. Essentially, they are too mean to run their central heating and don't care who else suffers from their economy. I have been keeping a record, and taking photos, and have ordered a pollution meter, but what I have read above does not give me much hope.
Ron - 13-Apr-18 @ 4:03 PM
I'm in total agreement of everything that has been stated already and am excuse the Pun fuming I was born 11950,and suffered as a child with bronchitis which ended up with part of my left lung being removed,this has not stopped me living a normal life and earning a living,and obviously pleased when the clean air act came in and virtually all solid fuel was stopped being burnt in homes,the increase in traffic fumes is obviously another matter which one day in the future will be sorted,but the trouble at the moment not only a fashion statement about being in vogue the dreaded log burner,we live in a semidetached bungalow with a back to back fire breast with the neighbour,so you can imagine our dread when their log burner was fitted not only do we have to run around shutting all Windows,my wife who loves her garden is often forced to come inside,also the mad dash to bring washing in if we are lucky enough to be there otherwise the whole washing is ruined,sitting outside is obviously a no no,also wiping of window sills etc etc,also you can hear every log being put on,and then the riddleing and cleaning in the morning,something must be done to educate these selfish individuals who are spoiling people's lives at home
Smell like a kipper - 12-Apr-18 @ 8:30 PM
I’ve just come out of hospital after my 5th severe asthma attack in less than a year, I’m a severe asthmatic and came home day from work to find a huge chimney outside my bedroom window, the selfish neighbour which we have all endured over the years with his constant banging and DIY responded with its my wall, he did say he would raise it but never has. A couple of weeks ago I sat in my front room wondering what idiot had foreworks in the rain to discover we had burning embers floating across our gardens from his chimney, going round to his house I was met with the neighbour on the other side. There is no need for him to have a wood stove we are 3 bedroom ex council houses on a huge ex council estate, a terraced row. It’s pathetic. I cannot have my windows opened, I have written him a letter asking that if it needs to be raised he does this but I will contact the local authority anyway to check it meets standards as he installed it himself and his workmanship is shoddy to say the least ( his makeshift conservatory roof appearing in my garden after a windy day tesitifies to that) The government needs to do more to regulate this issue and definitely stop them appearing in built up residential terraced houses where we have no option but to breathe in the fumes.
Debbi - 10-Apr-18 @ 5:12 PM
Further to my first reply below I did not mean that the 'write up did not mention section 82 but the comments.Sorry for any confusion.I would like to add that the write up mentions that the statement: "Some exempt fuels and exempt appliances can be still used in these areas. These have passed tests to ensure that they burn without producing smoke" is not correct its entirety. Such stove do produce smoke which is reduced when the wood is burning at the correct temp and passers through the second chamber of the appliance. This meets the clean act only and does not stop the 'burner' producing the same toxic mix as a non exempt burner. Just as industry equipment such as foundries etc meet with measures to reduce emissions to the required level during NORMAL use only.Hence you'll see actions taken on industry for not meeting the required levels at certain times of works. The same for WBA (wood burning appliances). When first lit the smoke/gases etc can be horrendous and each time the WBA is restocked with wood, embers produce little if any. But the key here is statutory nuisance, prove it you win, so your goal is proving statutory nuisance.Information is power, use FOI requests also.Research and research, find a legal precedent for the same or very similar situation then yours.
friedsquid - 10-Apr-18 @ 12:53 PM
I have carefully read all comments and, sadly, am not at all surprised!I recently moved into a detached house, but my house has intermittently but persistently been filled with chemical smoke smelling fumes - I have just figured out it is coming from my neighbour's chimneys - but it comes into my house, even with doors and windows closed, via my chimneys.They use a woodburner and this evening I have just realised why I couldn't breathe and nearly had to call an ambulance twice this week due to asthmatic symptoms and a near severe asthma attack!I have had to use medication for the first time in decades and am not happy!The chemical smell fills my house and I am currently extremely ill.I had to shut myself in one bedroom, put a towel against door gap on ground and open windows to breathe!It's all completely wrong and weighted in favour of people polluting the atmosphere with known carcinogens.I know I have to say something about it to them, but don't want to fall out, having just moved in.However, there's NO WAY I want to die not being able to breathe! I used to have life-threatening asthma attacks, but have been asthma free for decades and very fit and well.I left London due to the smokey atmosphere all over the streets caused by senseless and inconsiderate people smoking at every turn, especially next to business air-conditioning units - result?They were allowed to carry on their poisonous habit to the detriment of everyone else's health!I developed hyper-sensitivity and resultant asthmatic symptoms ONLY AFTER the law was changed to stop them smoking inside buildings, so now they just smoke in your face at every turn on the street!These people seem to be happy go lucky fools as their response is always "It's in the open air, so it shouldn't affect anyone!Really?!!!They don't seem to have noticed that the slightest breeze carries their nicotine and numerous chemicals straight to you - of course, they just don't care.I've constantly been badly affected by the smoke from people lighting up on train platforms without a care (not to mention it's illegal), but of course never enforced...Please post your petition - I'll be glad to sign it!
Jackie - 23-Mar-18 @ 5:36 AM
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