What counts as a nuisance?
For something to be a nuisance it usually has to affect health or cause other problems. Common examples include:
- Smoke from a premises
- Fumes or gases (from a home)
- Dust, steam or smells on industrial, trade or business premises
- Disturbing or excess noise
Smoke from chimney fires
Because of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Act, it’s against the law for any industrial building to produce dark chimney smoke. This is also the case for some private homes, if you live in a Smoke Control Area.
Domestic bonfires are exempt from the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Act rules. Although there is nothing stopping you having a bonfire, it’s important to make sure you are responsible and considerate. We will take action if your bonfire is proven to be causing a nuisance. It’s more likely to be seen as a nuisance if:
- It happens regularly
- The bonfire is very big
- The fire produces a lot of smoke
- The bonfire is burning for a long time
- It is very close to other properties
To avoid causing problems with your bonfire, try to follow these points:
- Warn your neighbours before you have a bonfire
- Avoid burning when it is windy or when air quality is poor or very poor
- Never burn rubber tyres, painted objects, anything containing plastic or foam
- Never use engine oil, meths or petrol to light a fire or keep it going
- Do not leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder. Keep water handy.
Are trade and industrial bonfires allowed?
No. Burning trade waste is illegal – all waste should be taken to a licensed disposal site or collected by a licensed carrier.
Odour and dust
Farmers do need to spread muck and fertiliser, so some odour is to be expected. However, farmers must follow their guidelines. Odour and dust cannot be measured – the chemicals which cause odour are usually used in low levels and are not harmful to health. Also, sensitivity to odour can vary significantly from one person to the next.
What are we doing to help?
- If we find that a nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur, we can serve an ‘Abatement Notice’ to ask the person responsible to sort the issue
- If they don’t obey the Abatement Notice, and don’t have a reasonable excuse, we can take them to court to face prosecution
What can you do to help?
There are also some things that you can do to help:
- Provide evidence to a Magistrate’s Court that nuisance exists or is likely to recur. Before action can be taken, you’ll need to tell the person responsible for the alleged nuisance that you plan to take the issue to court.