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Consumer and Environmental Services

Environmental Health

Air Quality

The National Air Quality Strategy outlines a national framework for reducing hazards to health from air pollution in the UK. The Environment Act 1995 requires Local Authorities to undertake air quality reviews, and where an air quality objective is not met Local Authorities must establish an Air Quality Management Area and implement action plans to improve the air quality.

Each year the Local Authority must review and assess local air quality against a set of standards and objectives for the control and reduction of the seven main health threatening pollutants – benzene, 1.3 butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM10) and sulphur dioxide.  The reports are then submitted to the Scottish Government. 

There are currently no Air Quality Management Areas identified in the Western Isles.

Previous years reports are available from Environmental Health.  Please Contact Us to request a copy.

Further information is available from the following websites:

Air Quality in Scotland

DEFRA UK-AIR Information Resource

Chimney Stack Height

The Clean Air Act 1993 introduced a range of regulations to control smoke emissions and the height of new chimneys serving industrial or commercial processes.

The Comhairle must approve the height of the chimney and associated arrestment plant of large boilers and furnaces to ensure that emissions are at a safe height and dispersed sufficiently into the atmosphere, so as not to be detrimental to health or cause a nuisance.

Please Contact Us for further advice and information on how to apply for approval.

Smoke

Burning garden waste produces smoke and contains pollutants such as carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles.  There are no laws to prohibit garden bonfires however the person lighting the bonfire should ensure that it is not causing a nuisance to anyone else.  Speak to your neighbours and let them know that you intend on having a bonfire so they don’t have washing out or have windows open.  Make sure it is not too windy, and never leave the fire unattended. 

If only dry garden waste is burnt, the occasional bonfire should not cause a major problem.  However if the bonfire becomes a persistent problem, interfering with the comfort and enjoyment of your home or interfering with your well-being, action can be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if it is determined to be a statutory nuisance.  If the fire is only occasional it would be difficult to prove nuisance in law.

If you are bothered by smoke, approach your neighbour and explain the problem.  They might not be aware of the distress they are causing and it will hopefully make them more considerate in future.  If this fails please Contact Us.  An officer will investigate your complaint, and if a statutory nuisance is determined an abatement notice can be served.

If a bonfire consists of commercial/industrial waste and is emitting black smoke it is an offence under section 2 of The Clean Air Act 1993.  Contact Us to report black smoke.