Pollution offences

Chimneys and fires

Under the Clean Air Act 1993 it is an offence to cause dark or black smoke from any chimney or open fire. If successfully prosecuted for such an offence the maximum fine is £20,000. For more information on the detail of the legislation

View Clean Air Act 1993 legislation.

Smoke and fumes

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to cause a statutory nuisance to another property due to smoke or fumes.  If successfully prosecuted for such an offence the maximum fine is £5,000 for domestic properties and up to £20,000 for industrial, trade or business premises.

Reporting a smoke problem

How councils deal with complaints about smoke and fumes

Permits for businesses

Under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (the regulations), we must regulate certain types of factory and other activities such as dry cleaners. This is to reduce any pollution they may cause and, in particular, to help improve air quality. Businesses which operate these premises must have a permit. Operating a process without a permit is an offence under Regulation 38 of the regulations. On summary convictions the operator could be either liable (a) to a fine not exceeding £50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both; or (b) on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both. Further details on Local Authority Pollution Control Permits.

Smoky exhausts

Under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 it is an offence to drive a vehicle with a defective and smoky exhaust. An authorised person can issue a fixed penalty ticket.

The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002

Last updated: 28 June 2017