Monday 17 June 2024
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Plans to fine residents who allow smoke release from chimneys in Nottinghamshire borough

People who allow chimney smoke to be released from their homes in more than 40 areas across Gedling could be fined hundreds of pounds under new air pollution plans.

A Gedling Borough Council committee will discuss the proposals next week as the Labour-led council looks to clamp down on repeat offenders.

It’s part of legislation in the Clean Air Act 1993 which sets out offences for emitting smoke in controlled areas unless approved to do so.

Council papers reveal 41 ‘smoke control areas’ (SCAs) are designated across the borough.

These cover all of Arnold, Daybrook, Woodthorpe, Porchester, Carlton, Netherfield, Colwick, Calverton, Bestwood Village and most of Gedling Village.

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Emitting smoke from chimneys through open fires, wood-burning stoves or fixed boilers in these areas is prohibited unless specific criteria are met.

This includes only using ‘authorised fuel’ such as gas or electricity, or ‘smokeless’ fuels unless through an exempt appliance.

Exempt appliances include anthracite or semi-anthracite coal burners, low-volatile steam coal, or gas.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) guidelines also say unauthorised fuel, such as wood, can only be burned in exempt appliances.

DEFRA’s smoke control website sets out a list of hundreds of exempt appliances, including countless wood burners.

Outdoor barbecues, chimineas, fireplaces or pizza ovens are allowed, alongside garden bonfires as long as they follow DEFRA rules on bonfires.

Gedling Borough Council says its public protection team receives complaints “from time to time” for these chimney offences both within and outside SCAs.

If offenders are found breaching these rules, an initial fine of £175 can be handed out.

The financial penalty increases to £300 for repeat offenders.

The authority plans to approve new powers and set the fine levels so enforcement can begin on offenders.

In a report, the council said: “In order to educate residents within the borough, the council will look to give a warning to households in the first instance.

“If further offending is identified, the process for issuing a financial penalty is to issue a notice of intent.

“This notice provides details of the offence, informs the recipient of the council’s intention to issue a financial penalty and provides details about that person’s right to object to the imposition of the penalty.”

Appeals can be made if offenders can prove there was no emission of smoke from the chimney on the specified date.

Other appeal grounds include the chimney not being covered by a smoke control order or being able to prove their appliances are exempt.

The authority’s environment and licensing committee will discuss the plans at its meeting on April 18.

Councillors will be asked to approve the level of fines and hand powers to the corporate director to allow officers to administer them.

The council added: “Not [doing this] will mean the council will not be able to use the new methods of enforcement and will make it difficult to identify and prosecute offenders within the borough.

“Some revenue may be received from payment of financial penalties, though it is anticipated most complaints can be resolved without the need for financial penalties.

“Perhaps in the region of £500-£1000 may be received per annum.

“Implementation of the new powers supports the council’s climate change net zero work.”

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