Pollution team - what we deal with
It might be surprising to learn that the majority of nuisance complaints received by the pollution team relate to domestic noise. Noise can be emitted in many ways:-
- Music, stereos, TV's
- Car engines/radios
- Burglar alarms
We all have the right to enjoy our homes however, at the very least, noise can be annoying and stressful but, at its worst, has the potential to be prejudicial to health. The potential for noise to cause a nuisance depends on many factors, examples being duration, frequency, volume and the time of day. The Pollution Team has to assess each case individually and gather evidence in order to make an informed and unbiased decisions on whether the noise in question has the potential to cause a Statutory Nuisance.
Statutory Nuisance is enforced under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Noise from industrial premises can include vehicle noise, general banging, clattering and operational activity. This may cause noise disturbance, particularly if there are residential properties nearby and activity continues during the night. Restrictions on times of operation may be in place through planning conditions on certain premises. It is not always possible for a site to reduce the noise, however we can take appropriate action under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 should a Statutory Nuisance be identified.
- Planning Enforcement - 01283 508607
Noise from pubs and clubs can also cause a nuisance to residents. Most entertainment premises require a Premise Licence issued by the licensing section of the council. Conditions may be put on this Licence to help reduce disturbance to residents. In addition the Pollution Team can deal with this type of noise under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 – appropriate action is taken should a Statutory Nuisance be identified.
- Licensing and Enforcement Section - 01283 508505 / 508479
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Statutory Nuisance) covers odour, fumes, dust and gases.
In some cases odour caused by spreading on agricultural land can be reduced. Farmers inevitably need to spread from time to time, therefore some odour is to be expected, however farmers must work in-line with their code of practice to ensure potential problems are minimised.
Both odour and dust are difficult to measure. The chemicals which cause odour are usually of low levels and not harmful to health. Also sensitivity to odour can vary significantly between individuals.
Contrary to popular belief, there are NO time restrictions limiting people who wish to have a domestic bonfire. It is important however, to ensure a bonfire is carried out in a responsible way and with consideration to others. Please be mindful that enforcement action can be taken by the council if the bonfire is proven to be causing a Statutory Nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. There are many factors taken into account when determining if a nuisance exists, such as the location, duration, frequency, reasonableness, scale/intensity and whether is it affecting/spoiling the enjoyment of the complainant’s property.
Top five tips to consider before lighting a bonfire:
- Warn your neighbours before you have a bonfire
- Avoid burning when it is windy/air quality is poor
- Never burn anything containing plastic, rubber, foam or painted objects
- Never use accelerants to light a fire
- Do not leave a fire unattended / left to smoulder
How to get rid of rubbish without burning
- Waste Management - 0800 269098
- Staffordshire Waste Management (for queries on tips and recycling centres 0800 232323 or visit www.recycleforstaffordshire.org)
The burning of trade waste without an appropriate Waste Management Licence (issued by the Environment Agency) is an offence. All waste should be taken to a licensed disposal site or collected by a licensed carrier. In addition, burning of materials causing dark smoke is a strict offence under the Clean Air Act 1993, which this Department enforces.
Waste Management - 0800 269098
Environment Agency - 08708 506506
Unwanted light can be an intrusion, for instance, if a security light shines through a bedroom window at night and prevents a person from sleeping.
If a light significantly interferes with a neighbouring property then this has the potential to cause a Statutory Nuisance.
It must be stressed however that all reasonable steps are taken by the complainant to minimise the intrusion of any light.
Typical sources of light pollution are:
- Domestic security lights
- Commercial security lights
- Sports facilities
- Exterior lighting of buildings
Light pollution can be enforced under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Statutory Nuisance).
NB: The Council does not have a 24 hour call out service for responding to Statutory Nuisance complaints. Should you be affected by nuisance issues outside of office hours they should be reported to Environmental Health the next working day, please note the Councils emergency phone line is not to be used in these cases. Breach of the peace, violence/fights and/or Anti Social Behaviour should be reported to the Police.
Complaints dealt with under Statutory Nuisance are subject to a standard procedure, which requires evidence gathering by the complainant and subsequent investigation by an officer from the pollution team. The investigating officer assesses every complaint individually and makes an unbiased decision on whether the nuisance is excessive, unreasonable and spoiling the enjoyment of your property.
Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007
Pollution Prevention & Control Act 1999
A number of industrial installations within the Borough are classed as prescribed processes. These premises operate within a specific Permit, which sets controls/limits on atmospheric emissions and in some cases cover other environmental issues. The Pollution Team visit these installations and ensure the controls are complied with. Some processes are required to carry out monitoring to ensure they remain under the limit for named pollutants. Enforcement action can be taken to ensure compliance with the legislation.
The Pollution Team carries out regular air quality assessments in the Borough to determine the concentration of certain pollutants. To carry this out, monitoring equipment is located throughout the Borough and monitoring stations are located in the centre of Burton for more detailed analysis. If concentration levels exceed those set by the Government, an Action Plan has to be developed with the aim of reducing the pollutants, which is the case for East Staffordshire Borough Council. For more detail on the Action Plan and other air quality documents/enquires please contact the Pollution Team.
Smoke Control Areas
There are smoke control areas within the borough, which require open chimney fires located within these areas to burn smokeless fuel. For further information on smoke control areas and exemptions from these restrictions please contact the Pollution Team.
Private Water Supplies
By law, this authority should be informed of any private water supplies (wells, boreholes, springs etc). Sampling of the supplies is undertaken to ensure quality of the water supply.
Contamination of land or water usually occurs from practices carried out upon the land in the past. Such practices include industrial, mining and waste disposal activities that may result in various substances contaminating the land.
The Pollution Team has a duty to inspect the borough and identify areas that are classed as contaminated land.
To carry out this duty we will look at the historical use of a site and any potential pollutants that may be there, the current or intended use of the site, and whether the pollution may cause harm to human health or the environment.
Once this information has been obtained, we would then try to find the original person who caused the pollution, who would then be responsible for cleaning up the site.
Full details of how we are going to inspect East Staffordshire can be read in our Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy.