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Your Rights Under the Clean Air Act 1993

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 3 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Clean Air Act Purpose Of Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act 1993 will mostly concern residential communities where there may be food preparation businesses nearby, such as fish and chip shops and other takeaway establishments, local factories which produce smoke, farms and neighbours who build bonfires. For the most part, the building of bonfires by neighbours will usually be covered under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Clean Air Act 1993 contains specific legislation to deal with issues such as the height of chimneys on trade and industrial premises, the operation of furnaces, problems caused by dark smoke and the use of authorised fuels.

Dark Smoke

Where you see a plume of dark smoke, this normally signifies that materials which are non-organic are being burned and, therefore, environmental pollution is being caused. The items which are commonly associated with producing dark smoke include, but are not limited to, rubber, plastics, densely-packed wood and wood which may have been painted or treated.

A person or, more usually, a company which is responsible for the production of dark smoke is liable to receive a fine which can be for as much as up to £20,000 under the Clean Air Act, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be thick, black smoke either.

Smoke Control Areas

Most residential areas will be covered by what is known as a ‘smoke control area’ where the main purpose is to reduce the pollution from chimneys by prohibiting the use of coal and wood on open fires in these areas. If you are living in a smoke control area, only authorised fuels (more commonly referred to as ‘smokeless’ fuels) are permitted, unless you are using an ‘exempted appliance’. It should also be pointed out that in many rural communities, some locations are not classed as ‘smoke control areas’, so having a coal or wood fire at home is permitted.

Authorised Fuels and Exempt Appliances

Authorised fuels are those which have passed the Statutory Instruments (Regulations) which are contained within the Clean Air Act. These include gas, electricity, anthracite and others which are predominantly smokeless fuels, along with specifically manufactured brands of solid smokeless fuels. All of these types of fuels are always subject to rigorous testing first to ensure that they have been passed fit to be able to burn in an approved appliance without producing smoke.

Exempt appliances cover the likes of stoves, ovens and wood burners which have been made exempt under the Statutory Instruments (Orders) contained within the Clean Air Act. These types of appliances will have had to have passed tests to prove that they are able to burn unauthorised or ‘smoky’ types of solid fuel but without emitting smoke.

These exempt appliances include any fireplaces that have been designed or adapted for the combustion of liquid fuel, fireplaces made after 31st December 1956 and installed before 1st May 1970 that are equipped with mechanical stokers, and any fireplaces with heating capacity that exceeds 150,000 British thermal Units per hour that have been installed after 31st December 1956 and are equipped with mechanical stokers. DEFRA is the government department you’d need to go to if you if you wish to submit an application for an exempted appliance.

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, the legislation which is in place should fundamentally ensure that, as residents, we are all capable of living in a clean environment where we will not be exposed to the dangers of excessive and damaging smoke. However, if you're concerned about pollution due to a Neighbour's Bonfire, more details can be found in another article contained within this website.

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After the residents in South Leeds finally got some fresh air, after the Leeds city council closed down some Gas Tanks. These gas tanks were releasing for years I have been told, toxic chemical gas that would fog the whole area of Beeston/hunslet, some children have been badly effected bad this so it was great when the tanks were closed down but guess what? The B* at no 72 Longroyd Grove LS115HQ has continued to burn all day every day, a furnace and chimney coals from his home. So the wind blows at our property and the area near his home STINKS LIKE A COAL FACTORY. The racist police in Leeds who only support white residents and MP Hilary Benn couldn't care much less. So the Leeds city council department have been contacted not just by us, but their next door neighbors, the husbandhas a terrible cough that he can't control, from living next to the constant burning fumes, he sounds terrible when he is out in the yard coughing up all day. The Leeds City Council Environmental service and the British Air Polution department have stated that if the fumes are affecting other residents to the point they are forced to live around this family, by having to close their windows and are getting harassed Its an elder couple with a 8 year old daughter, the husband and some other neighbors have asked others to harass me, I've been shouted at by him " F* off already if you don't like the smoke!!" he would shout from his yard if he saw me closing my window. I have contacted several Environmental Legal Services and Air Pollution regulators in the UK. One told me that this man is a selfish .... since burning fluoride coals in a home can cause brain damage to a child effecting their IQ and serious respiratory tracks problems. There is a family with children living right next to them and don't know how they put up with this stench. The lunatic police and even MP in this region protect white men like him because he is white. The city of Leeds is extremely discriminant and white, the leeds city council has had nothing but white mayors for ages, most of their staff are white, most of this area is white or the people who are allowed to pollute the air, hack into peoples computers, threaten me with death threats have been all white!! We have had visitors ask us what the stench is or if we have a fire burning at back, its embarrassing as you can't even stand outside, you are forced to close all windows, the stench can be smelled down the entire street, why more neighbors haven't reported him is beyond me. He has asked others to target and harass me, there is a way to sue him for this as well as have him investigated for harassment. All of this hassle and misery because of one selfish neighbor!!
Paris - 3-Dec-17 @ 5:44 PM
We've talked to our landlord about it a couple of times, but all he did that we know of was post a letter to all apartments in the building saying basically to deal with our problems by talking to each other... So we were wondering if there is anything we could do like as they would go to the council for the noise we make, if we could do something equivalent for them? Thanks
dap - 16-Sep-17 @ 8:15 PM
dap - Your Question:
Hello all, I have a problem with my neighbours- who are the ones complaining about me and my flatmate making noise. They have repeatedly knocked on our door or their ceiling (our floor) because they can't bear the noise we make at like 5/6/7pm which I believe is not that late for: exercising on our new cross trainer - which we could only use once because the noise bothers our lovely neigbours, singing - my flatmate has to do some exercises cause she takes singing lessons, dancing - danced once ONE SONG and they came upstairs to complain. We can't even have sex with our partners, yes you read it, sex! Last time my flatmate had sex they knocked on the ceiling repeatedly till she had to stop! But when she ran downstairs after a minute they weren't coming to the door! This is ridiculous, we live in a flat where we can't listen to music, sing, exercise, have sex or dance, all NOT during the night hours. Please, I need some advice because talking to them doesn't help at all.

Our Response:
Talk to your landlord. Can they address this with your neighbour? Is there something they can do to help with the soundproofing etc?
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Sep-17 @ 9:38 AM
Hello all, I have a problem with my neighbours- who are the ones complaining about me and my flatmate making noise. They have repeatedly knocked on our door or their ceiling (our floor) because they can't bear the noise we make at like 5/6/7pm which I believe is not that late for: exercising on our new cross trainer - which we could only use once because the noise bothers our lovely neigbours, singing - my flatmate has to do some exercises cause she takes singing lessons, dancing - danced once ONE SONG and they came upstairs to complain. We can't even have sex with our partners, yes you read it, sex! Last time my flatmate had sex they knocked on the ceiling repeatedly till she had to stop! But when she ran downstairs after a minute they weren't coming to the door! This is ridiculous, we live in a flat where we can't listen to music, sing, exercise, have sex or dance, all NOT during the night hours. Please, I need some advice because talking to them doesn't help at all.
dap - 13-Sep-17 @ 7:49 PM
Question please. If an exempt appliance is used to burn green wood, ie wood that has not been kiln dried or properly seasoned, whilst doing so produces vast amounts of smoke out of the chimney.., is the appliance no longer exempt? You say It's only exempt if it burns authorised fuel, ( is green wood an authorised fuel ? ) without producing smoke, so if it does produce smoke, shouldn't the EHO act accordingly ?
Oathkeeper - 24-May-17 @ 4:29 PM
Zozo - Your Question:
We too have problems with neighbours smoking cigarettes and weed in their garden we cannot open our windows to let air in as it drifts through windows also when neighbour cooks the cooking smell stinks our first floor maissonette out terribly I opened the comunial doors and windows outside and get a mouthful of abuse from neighbour who lives below us our flat has an upstairs and Downstairs and there's no air vent or window on landing so strong cooking smells stick in that area the only way to clear it is to open the comunial door for roughly an hour. Underneat. My stairs to our bedrooms is the comunial so any smells run up stairs council told me not their problem.

Our Response:
Speak to your landlord about the possibility of introducing a no-smoking policy in the communal areas and to investigate the extraction issues.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Feb-17 @ 11:38 AM
We too have problems with neighbours smoking cigarettes and weed in their garden we cannot open our windows to let air in as it drifts through windows also when neighbour cooks the cooking smell stinks our first floor maissonette out terribly I opened the comunial doors and windows outside and get a mouthful of abuse from neighbour who lives below us our flat has an upstairsand Downstairs and there's no air vent or window on landing so strong cooking smells stick in that area the only way to clear it is to open the comunial door for roughly an hour. Underneat . My stairs to our bedrooms is the comunial so any smells run up stairs council told me not their problem.
Zozo - 7-Feb-17 @ 1:24 AM
I am a 70 year old pensioner, As a builder I enlarged my house I purchased around 12years ago. Lovely area,great position. Was enjoying my life here were I was born. Then about four years ago my neighbour about three years ago decided to install a wood burner. Since the my life has been a nightmare.I have been dealing with this with the local environment health people for four years now to no avail. They are useless .Every year from aroundNovember to spring I cannot have my bathroom window open or my toilet window when this is happening.the smell of smoke comes into my house even with windows closed. I've filled nuisance diary forms in so the O.E.H. know when this happens and are supposed to view problem. They have been round but never when the problem arises I've used recommended out of hours number no one responds. I've showy them video footage taken of smoking flue with black smoke emitting from it,they say that it is not evidence, they must actually view it happening. I asked one officer on the phone one day what happensnow I've filled In nuisance forms,she replied we've been round to see neighbour ( person causing problem) what you fill forms out for is.so they visit you to view the problem In this case unfortunately the neighbour used to work for the local council in the department. So it's the" old pals act" . This year I've. been told by e:mail by the local environmentchlef they can no longer help me so case closed.
Chambo - 24-Jan-17 @ 5:57 AM
Dino - Your Question:
We live next to a public 'open space' and within 8 metres of a 'kick-about' goal apparatus that has 'rebound' boards and steel mesh on it. The sound of children playing is not really an issue despite some of the language that gets used - our problem is with the banging sound that the ball makes from foot to rebound board and the crashing noise the ball makes when it hits the mesh - they might as well be kicking it against the wall of our house. It is incredibly loud, repetitive, and very stressfull. We have a nice outside space but cant enjoy it when they're playing kick-about. In the nicer weather we have to shut the windows and turn-up the volume on the tv. We are early risers 5AM because we commute a good distance and so like to go to bed as early as 9.30PM - in the summer the kids can be out as late as 10pm kicking the ball. Whilst the apparatus was insitu when we moved there it was actually installed whilst our property was unoccupied as part of a local private development,and it really wasn't used much (to any effect anyway) in the first 9 months. The actual sound level given by the ball and board impact I have monitored as high as 90db. The local authority seem to be making it difficult to find a way forward despite my offer of a financial contribution to it's removal/relocation. Any ideas?

Our Response:
It is a local authority provision? If so, and you've already tried contacting them/offering solutions with no success, there's not a huge amount we can suggest. Are there any additional sound proofing measures that you could implement to your own property? Such as thick planting etc? Are other neighbours experiencing the same problems? If so, could you get together and ask your MP or councillor to look into options for you?
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Jan-17 @ 12:53 PM
we live next to a public 'open space' and within 8 metres of a 'kick-about' goal apparatus that has 'rebound' boards and steel mesh on it. The sound of children playing is not really an issue despite some of the language that gets used - our problem is with the banging sound that the ball makes from foot to rebound board and the crashing noise the ball makes when it hits the mesh - they might as well be kicking it against the wall of our house. It is incredibly loud, repetitive, and very stressfull. We have a nice outside space but cant enjoy it when they're playing kick-about. In the nicer weather we have to shut the windows and turn-up the volume on the tv.We are early risers 5AM because we commute a good distance and so like to go to bed as early as 9.30PM - in the summer the kids can be out as late as 10pm kicking the ball. Whilst the apparatus was insitu when we moved there it was actually installed whilst our property was unoccupied as part of a local private development,and it really wasn't used much (to any effect anyway) in the first 9 months. The actual sound level given by the ball and board impact I have monitored as high as 90db. The local authority seem to be making it difficult to find a way forward despite my offer of a financial contribution to it's removal/relocation. Any ideas?
Dino - 16-Jan-17 @ 2:33 PM
The British are too soft with the unruly types, we all have rights and I for one am sick of being treated like I don't matter. I have persistent put up with a couple above me stamping back and forward across my ceiling and slamming doors, not just occasionally but three or four times in a row. This happens every single night flakes of paint come off my ceiling and the flat shakes. I was told to approach them which I did,it quietened down for a couple of months then started up again I sent them another letter a week ago and even bought a box of biscuits, they put two fingers up and the stamping and slamming of doors has been relentless, lasting from midnight until four o' clock in the morning. So much for being polite!! If I could do it my way they would stop immediately and learn some manners. I am a victim not a whinger, I want my sleep!!
FATLADY - 13-Jan-17 @ 3:10 PM
We live in terraced house with only one house on one side, so they are only detached to us. Their smoking is getting completely unbearable as it drifts through the windows and my child complains about a headache. Felling hopeless. Please help to understand our rights. Thank you
Ina - 30-Sep-16 @ 10:50 PM
There were questions asked about cigarette smoke drifting through the windows, but could't find an answer. If the amout of cigarettes smokes exceeds 100 per evening, 3-4 people smoking just next to the fence at their garden doors, our house is full of smoke the minute we open the rear door or windows. They also have a saniflo working every 15 minutes and washing machine is run 3-4 times a day. These people are always in the garden, talking loudly. It has started affecting our health as I have stress related hives and eczema... Please help, is there anything we can do?
Ina - 14-Sep-16 @ 10:48 PM
Neighbor in charge of the 1978 covenant restrictions denied my detached garage even tho he verbally agreed. Once the footer were poured and a ton of money there after, he said if I built it he would have me tear it down. Now the game begins, I requested a car port and it was shot down. I requested a carport to be attached to the house and it was shot down. The restrictions state that it has to be attached and of the same materials as the exsting structure. OK, wood and shingles, yet he has a brick house and added a room addition to the back with no problem. I called the county and they said he did not have a permit. Can I sue this guy in some way shape or form before something bad happens here?
Don - 9-Sep-16 @ 12:57 AM
Our neighbors are cigarette smokers but they only smoke outside in the area adjacent to our joint boundary.As a consequence we cannot open our conservatory doors when they are out smoking as the smoke drifts from their property (to the west of us) into ours causing a very unpleasant smell and, presumably subjecting us to the effects of their second hand cigarette smoke. What are our rights ?
ArtificerJon - 14-Jul-16 @ 3:32 PM
Bridgie - Your Question:
This is the 3rd time in row we have had nightmare neighbours! The house next door is been rented by supposedly 2 men & 1 woman. It's more like 4/5 men and 3 women. They play music all day and night, they have bbq's constantly, making it extremely difficult to hang out the washing. They shout all the time, (I think this is a cultural thing) and every weekend and sometimes weekdays they have parties! My husband works nights and he often looses out on sleep due to the noise. We have contacted the letting agents and complained, but all they seemed interested was the fact that they might be subletting. Is there anyone else that could help me with problem?

Our Response:
Yes if the noise contiunues into the night or is constantly excessive during the day - to the extent that you would definitely say it's interfering with your enjoyment of the propertyyou should try your local environemental health dept.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Jul-16 @ 12:42 PM
This is the 3rd time in row we have had nightmare neighbours!The house next door is been rented by supposedly 2 men & 1 woman. It's more like 4/5 men and 3 women. They play music all day and night, they have bbq's constantly,making it extremely difficult to hang out the washing. They shout all the time, (I think this is a cultural thing) and every weekend and sometimes weekdays they have parties! My husband works nights and he often looses out on sleep due to the noise. We have contacted the letting agents and complained, but all they seemed interested was the fact that they might be subletting.Is there anyone else that could help me with problem?
Bridgie - 10-Jul-16 @ 8:43 AM
Our downstairs neighbour plays loud music constantly and we have complained several times to our local council and they come on the day to see the noise levels but coincidently when they do come she no longer plays loud music, but once the council people leave she starts playing really loud music again. Her music is so loud to the point that our heaters and floor vibrates. To make matters worse we can't hear the T.V at times and is even more difficult for me as I have hearing loss in one ear and I have tinnitus which does not help. But the council says that they can't do anything as they don't hear anything when they come and that they can not take action until they believe that they should and that the noise level is intolerable. But she never plays loud music coincidently when they are present only when they leave and it seems they do not believe us and this has been going on for 9 years now and it has become very difficult to live in the flat above her now. Sometimes she even plays music early in the morning when people want to sleep and late at night which is difficult for early risers who have to go to work, school or Uni.
Hanahb - 20-Mar-16 @ 5:11 PM
My neighbour below has installed a wood burning stove and its flue is only 3 meters from my large windows. The fumes stink and enter the windows.Environmental department says it is only a nuisance and wont act until someone is ill.
pansarotti - 28-Feb-16 @ 12:58 PM
@juliad. It should not be dangerous (steam and carbon dioxide) but - ask a corgi registered engineer to come and take a look at where the vent is. They'll give you a good idea on whether it's in a legitimate place or whether there's an alternative (e.g going further vertically etc).
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Feb-15 @ 12:37 PM
my next door neighbours have just had a new boiler fitted the pipe comes out between our bedroom windows when there boiler is on the steam goes right past my bedroom window if i have the window open it comes into the bedroom is this dangerous, what can i do about it she is not the easiest of people to deal with and i dont want to cause any fiction between us as she is a horrible person
juliad - 2-Feb-15 @ 11:54 AM
My neighbours flue is in my yard fumes come in though door an windows and fill the yard is it safe for my children?
me - 28-Apr-13 @ 9:16 PM
Yeah, ban fireplaces for emitting smoke from the chimney! Then write about frozen pensioners. Dumb brits
nmb - 14-Mar-13 @ 12:52 AM
We have had developers move in on an old chemical site behind our homes.The toxic waste has been capped off for the past twenty years.The developers have now dug down and piled tons of toxic soil on one side and the odours are over welding when the winds blow towards the houses.we have asked how long the spoils will be there but none of the agencies know.what are the rules for this as it has been going on since July 2012 Thanks, Richard.Warren
rich - 10-Feb-13 @ 2:18 PM
My neighbour burns any wood they can get hold of on their wood burner including pallets and discarded roof timber. The smell. Is unbearable and as early to bed people we can't leave the windows open in case more wood goes on the fire during the night as it irritates my breathing. From 3.30 onwards everyday we get smoke but more worryingly the smell of burning chemicals. Neighbour has taken offence when I asked if they were burning treated wood. Help!
Vmb - 7-Oct-12 @ 9:34 PM
My self and my neighbours are experiencing excessive dust, noise and vibration from a waste management site that has been licensed next to our homes. This site sorts waste material from skip using a trommel and there is always at least a 20 foot pile of waste material waiting to be processed. My question is; is there any legislation to protect us from this? As we have elderly, disabled people and infants living along side this.
fish - 30-Mar-12 @ 11:28 PM
My neighbour has put wood panels down along side of the brook he placed the posts on the boundary but has put the wood panels on my side of the boundary is he allowed to do this? I have spoken to him about this and he became very defensive towards me, should he have put them on his side of the boundary? Many thanks Mary
Dinah - 23-Sep-11 @ 12:33 PM
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