Smoke control order consultation

Poor air quality is an issue of national significance as a public health issue, as it contributes to the development of numerous diseases including cancer, heart disease and asthma; children, the elderly and those with respiratory issues are particularly at risk. In the UK 28,000 to 36,000 deaths per year are attributed to long term exposure to air pollution.

Smoke from chimneys contains particulate matter, which when breathed in can irritate lungs and cause long term harm to health.

We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the local community - improving local air quality is one way in which we are working to achieve this goal.

The law

The Clean Air Act 1993 gives local authorities the power to make a ‘smoke control order’; properties falling under such an order are subject to restrictions on the emission of smoke from chimneys attached to buildings.

The Clean Air Act 1993 was amended by the Environment Act 2021; this has modernised how smoke control orders work and how the rules are enforced by local authorities.

Under the amended restrictions, it would be unlawful to emit smoke from a property that falls under a smoke control order. Officers of the council would be able to issue a financial penalty of between £175 and £300 where they witness the emission of a ‘significant quantity of smoke from a chimney’, regardless of the appliance being used or the type of fuel burned. Wood, timber or logs will also need to be burnt in a DEFRA approved stove or smokeless fuel should be used.

As well as a change to how smoke control orders work, there has been a change to their scope. Local authorities now have the discretion to extend the scope of their smoke control orders so that their restrictions include moored vessels (i.e. river and canal boats, although smoke emissions are allowed from fuel used by an engine to move or provide electric power to the vessel).

Existing smoke control orders

We have made 21 smoke control orders since the 1960’s; these orders cover the majority of the urban areas of the borough from Kidsgrove to Newcastle under Lyme. Under these orders, restrictions on smoke only apply to buildings or furnaces with chimneys with nuisance and anti-social behaviour laws applying to non chimney smoke e.g. bonfires or household chimineas, BBQ’s etc.

The areas covered by existing smoke control orders can be inspected free of charge at any council offices and libraries during normal office hours. Alternatively please contact environmentalhealth@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk to request a copy.

You can download a copy of the draft smoke control order and the areas currently covered.

Proposed changes

We are considering revoking the existing smoke control orders and replacing them with a single smoke control order, which will cover the entire district. The proposed smoke control order will:

  • Bring simplicity - one smoke control order will apply to chimneys of buildings across the entire district.
  • Ensure the smoke control order reflects the current council boundary
  • Bring moored vessels within the scope of the smoke control order. Vessels that moor within the council area, including those on the Shropshire Union Canal at Tyrley along with the The Trent and Mersey and Macclesfield Canal’s at Kidsgrove will need to comply with the smoke control order rules.

Consultation

We are inviting you to express your views on the proposed changes.

You can do so by completing the online consultation form:

Have your say about the proposed smoke control changes

Other ways to comment

You can respond to our consultation by email. Please send a new email to environmentalhealth@Newcastle-staffs.gov.uk. Please enter 'Objection to revision to Smoke Control Orders’ in the subject of the email and state 'yes in support' or 'no do not support' the proposed changes in the body of the email along with any comments.

Alternatively, you can write to: Environmental Protection Team, Regulatory Services Health, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council, Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle under Lyme ST5 1BL. Please mark a letter with ‘Objection to revision to Smoke Control Orders’.

Closing date

Comments should be received by Monday 11 March 2024.