Pollution - Air, Smoke and Bonfires

Environmental Health

Before making a complaint, please read through the information below which might be helpful to your enquiry.  However, if you think that you need us to investigate please complete the online form, email us at ehtechsupport@staffordbc.gov.uk or phone 01785 619 402.

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.


What pollutants are measured?

Nitrogen Dioxide is the only air pollutant monitored by Stafford Borough Council.

What Are The Effects Of Air Pollution?

People's reactions to air pollution are known to vary and anyone who has individual concerns over their personal health should contact their GP.

What Monitor Air Pollution?

The Council has been monitoring traffic pollution for many years.

However in 1995 the Government set a legal obligation for local authorities to Review and Assess Air Quality against health based standards within their districts. Every local authority in England has an obligation to undertake such a survey.

What monitoring is happening near me?

The Council monitor air pollution from traffic at 40 sites across Stafford Borough.

What Levels Of Air Pollution Are There In The UK?

The air quality varies considerably from place to place and the time of year. People living in urban, industrialised areas will be exposed too much higher levels of pollution than those living in the deepest countryside. Overall the air quality is good.

What Is The Air Pollution Like Near Me?

The survey was conducted according to government guidelines and showed that the air quality within Stafford Borough achieves the standards set by Government.

What Is An Air Pollution Episode?

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.

What Causes Air Pollution In Stafford Borough?

Traffic pollution from the M6 motorway is the most significant source of air pollution in Stafford Borough.

What are we doing about air pollution?

A survey has been conducted in accordance with strict government guidelines and has been independently audited by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It concluded that no actions are required to reduce air pollution in Stafford Borough.

What are Air Quality Management Areas and where have they been declared in Stafford Borough?

Air Quality Management Areas are areas that have been identified during the air quality review and assessment of the borough, as areas that will not meet the government air quality health based standards.

There are no Air Quality Management Areas in Stafford Borough.

How Is Air Pollution Measured?

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.

Give Me More Information About Automatic Monitoring Sites?

These contain very sophisticated electronic monitoring units linked to calibration gases and a datalogger that stores the monitoring data. The datalogger is then interrogated via a telephone link and the data then passed to a central computer for analysis. In addition, a small weather station is included at all the sites to provide additional information for source identification.

Are Levels Of Pollution Changing?

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. This has been replaced with pollution from the ever-increasing traffic population. Thus we now have a general decline in pollution levels but a sustained growth in specific pollutants.

When can I have a garden bonfire?

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, you could be breaking the law. The Council discourages the burning of waste and would encourage people to recycle their waste, including the composting of garden waste.

What Can The Council Do About Bonfires?

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. Let's not forget 5 November. However, green waste (garden material) should be shredded and composted or taken to the local authority household waste sites for recycling. There should not be any reason for garden bonfires these days.

What precautions should I take to prevent smoke nuisance from my garden bonfire?

The easiest way is not to have a bonfire at all, but to recycle your waste. 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.

Is my home in a Smoke Control Area?

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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