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Smoke, fumes and dust

Smoke nuisance

Solid fuel heaters, including wood heaters, are a popular form of home heating. Wood is an effective fuel when burnt efficiently. However, using wood-burning heaters incorrectly can cause emission of pollutants, excess smoke and can use up more fuel.

The following tips will help you to get the most efficient and safe results from your heater:

  • Use kindling wood, paper or firelighters to start the fire. Add larger pieces of split, seasoned wood once a bed of red-hot coals is established. Continually monitor your flue.
  • Start with the flue wide open; this will promote flames by supplying oxygen to the fire. A fire may smoke after just being lit but if it is lit correctly the smoke plume should reduce markedly after 15 minutes or so. If your chimney is producing a grey/white smoke plume, the fire requires more oxygen. Once the wood is burning fiercely, you may then turn down the controls so that the fire will give out a comfortable warmth
  • Build smaller fires. Add small amounts of wood regularly and provide plenty of air. Avoid having one or two large logs smouldering in the fire with the air controls turned down
  • Keep the air vents open for 15-20 minutes after reloading the fire.
  • Keep the fire live and bright but let the fire go out at night.
  • Wood selection choices can make a difference. Please use smaller split logs as they burn more readily and use dry, seasoned wood.
  • Do not use treated or painted wood (e.g. permapine, creosote, wood pallets, and old vineyard posts) as they may contain other toxins such as arsenic.
  • Maintenance is important, please ensure you clean your chimney each year.

Smoke from backyard burning

Nuisance caused by excessive smoke from poor burning practice is a common source of nuisance. It is important to monitor the smoke being produced, residents need to ensure that the smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours, even during the permitted burning times.

For further information please visit Backyard Burning.


Dust is a common source of nuisance, particularly on building sites and residential developments.

Large amounts of dust can become a nuisance as well as an environmental concern. Taking steps to minimise dust nuisance is important:

  • Schedule activities when the weather conditions are favourable.
  • Spray water on the topsoil in dry conditions to reduce dust leaving the site.
  • Minimise soil disturbance.
  • Retain vegetation coverage which helps to hold soil in place.

When should a nuisance be reported?

In the first instance, we recommend discussing the matter with your neighbour to bring the issue to their attention in a friendly manner. They may not be aware that they are causing a problem. This will allow them to resolve the matter before involving Council.

If the matter continues to be a nuisance, you may log a request for service.

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