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Dust offences or nuisance

It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for industrial, trade or business premises to cause a statutory nuisance to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood by generating dust.

In cases where the council has received complaints, or has reason to believe that dust may be generated and nuisance is likely to occur, an investigation will be carried out and if nuisance is considered to be occurring due to activities on site, an Abatement Notice can be served.

Dust from domestic premises is not covered by Statutory Nuisance legislation.

See also: Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the UK legislation website

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What is a nuisance from dust?

If you are experiencing excessive dust caused by the activities of a commercial premises or building site we will have to prove that a statutory nuisance is being caused in order to take formal action. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to cause a statutory nuisance - this includes dust. To be considered a statutory nuisance, the dust would usually have to be a regular problem and interfering substantially with the well-being, comfort or enjoyment of your property. However it should be noted that 'one off' events that produce excessive amounts of dust may be considered a statutory nuisance if they cause a significant and widespread adverse impact on neighbours.

Many industrial processes such as the crushing of concrete require an Environmental Permit to operate. Though these activities are exempt from nuisance legislation, if dust is leaving the boundary of the premises the conditions of the permit are likely to be breached.

Further information on environmental permits is available on the industrial air pollution, prevention and control page.

See also:

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Dust at construction sites

Dust nuisance can be a major issue during construction and demolition work, resulting from activities such as excavation, burning, blasting and, in particular, vehicles using roads.

Methods to reduce the risk of causing dust nuisance include the following:

  • installation of wheel washing facilities at site entrances/exits
  • water spraying of haul roads and stockpiles
  • reduction of speeds on haul roads
  • seeding stockpiles for long-term cover
  • seeding stockpiles with bonding agents
  • sheeting of vehicles
  • using sealed or sheeted containers/skips for waste materials
  • erecting barriers or sheeting around works
  • use of chutes to move materials
  • fitting and maintaining of grit and dust arrestment plant

The Public Health & Regulation Team can investigate complaints about dust nuisance from commercial premises including building sites. Conditions relating to dust control are often attached to planning permissions, particularly for large developments, so you may also wish to speak with a planning officer.

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Waste facilities

If you experience dust generated on a site handling waste this will be covered by a condition of its Environmental Permit. This is enforced by the Environment Agency (EA), you can find their contact details on the:

See also:

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Make a complaint

If you have a complaint dust, please contact the Public Health & Regulation Team:

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