Pollution - Air, Smoke and Bonfires

Environmental Health

Before making a complaint, please read through the information below which might be helpful to your enquiry. If you still need us to investigate a complaint further, please complete the online form, email us at ehtechsupport@staffordbc.gov.uk or phone 01785 619402.

Air Quality for the Borough is assessed annually and a report produced to the Government.

For further information on air quality please contact 01785 619402.

Our responsibility

We are responsible for measuring the amount of Nitrogen Dioxide polluting the air.

If you are concerned about your health, reactions to air pollution are known to vary and anyone who has individual concerns over their personal health should contact their GP.

We have been monitoring traffic pollution for many years. Traffic pollution from the M6 motorway is the most significant source of air pollution in Stafford Borough. In 1995, the Government set a legal obligation for local authorities to Review and Assess Air Quality against health based standards within their districts.

We monitor air pollution from traffic at 40 sites across Stafford Borough. The air quality varies considerably from place to place and the time of year.

People living in urban, industrialised areas will be exposed to much higher levels of pollution than those living in the rural countryside.

Our most recent survey was conducted according to government guidelines and showed that the air quality within Stafford Borough achieves the standards set by Government. It concluded that no actions are required to reduce air pollution.

How to measure air pollution

During certain weather conditions, usually when there is low wind speed for dispersion, certain pollutants are unable to dilute and disperse and therefore the concentration tends to remain at higher levels for an extended length of time.

It can be measured by drawing a sample into a complex monitoring unit that measures the concentration of a particular gas against a known concentration measured at regular intervals. Other methods include collecting particulate matter on filters and then analysing the mass, particle size and chemical components.

There has been a dramatic reduction in industrial pollution with the demise of the traditional manufacturing industry and the change from coal to gas and oil as a domestic fuel.

We now have a general decline in pollution levels but a sustained growth in specific pollutants, mainly due to traffic conditions.

Garden bonfires

The law does not prevent you from having a bonfire at any time, BUT, if you do, you must ensure that:

  • The smoke does not cause a nuisance to your neighbour.
  • The smoke does not cause a danger to road traffic.

If you do not ensure the above, you could be breaking the law. We discourage the burning of waste and would encourage people to recycle their waste, including the composting of garden waste.

Small domestic fires that do not interfere with neighbour's enjoyment of their environment is permissible, so long as it does not produce toxic or dark smoke and persists for an unreasonable time period.

Green waste (garden material) should be shredded and composted or taken to the local authority household waste sites for recycling.

If you do have a bonfire, here are some simple tips to help prevent problems:

  • Site the bonfire as far away from housing and roads as possible.
  • Have the fire when the wind is blowing away from housing and roads.
  • Make sure that the material is not damp and that no plastic, rubber, paint, or similar man-made products are being burnt.
  • Inform your neighbours and make sure they do not have washing hanging out to dry, or are trying to enjoy their garden.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or water supply handy in case the fire gets out of hand.

Smoke Control Areas

Smoke Control Areas (sometimes called Smokeless Zones) are declared by local authorities in order to control the types of fuel that can be burnt on heating appliances in buildings. The aim is to prevent air pollution that affects the environment and can have a serious impact on health. There are no Smoke Control Areas within Stafford Borough.

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