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Air Pollution

Disputes also arise between neighbours over smoke from chimneys or incinerators, burning off in backyards, hot air from air conditioner exhausts, smells caused by animals and birds, chemical smells from factories and so on. Again it is best to try to solve such a dispute in a friendly manner, but if this does not help, a complaint can be made to the local council.

Under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA) odours, dust, smoke or fumes may qualify as a local nuisance depending on the nature, intensity or extent (see below When do offensive odours, dust or smoke constitute a local nuisance?).

Burning off in the open

The ability to burn off in the open (such as using an open fire to cook food, prepare beverages, or using a campfire for warmth) is regulated by local councils pursuant to the Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016. Domestic incinerators are included in the definition of what constitutes burning in the open.

Different restrictions and requirements apply depending on whether the burning in the open is occurring within metropolitan Adelaide, or outside of metropolitan Adelaide.

In some instances, permits must be sought from council before burning in the open occurs.

The Environment Protection Authority's website on Burning in the Open provides guidance on what burning in the open activities are allowed and in what circumstances. Advice should also be sought from local council.

Burning off

Burning off to reduce bush fire hazards is permitted so long as either the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (SA) allows or the Environmental Protection Authority or local council has given written consent, either by individual permit or by general notice published in a newspaper. Burning off activities should also comply with any relevant CFS Code of Practice (available via the CFS Website), if the burning off occurs outside of metropolitan Adelaide.

Smoke from solid fuel (combustion) heaters

Section 12 of the Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016 provides guidance on what amounts to excessive smoke from slow combustion (solid fuel) heaters and other fires.

Smoke from a solid fuel heater will constitute a local nuisance in the following circumstances:

  • if a visible plume of smoke extends into the air above neighbouring premises from the flue or chimney of the heater more than 15 minutes after the heater is lit; and
  • an authorised officer forms the opinion that the nature, extent, colour, smell or density of the smoke creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises.

When do offensive odours, smoke or dust contitute a local nuisance?

The following conditions constitute a local nuisance under Schedule 1 of the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA):

  • odour generated on permises – if an authorised officer decides that the odour has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, intensity or extent of the odour creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises;
  • dust generated on premises – if any authorised officer decides that the dust has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, extent, smell or density of the dust creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises;
  • smoke generated on premises (other than from solid fuel heaters) – if an authorised officer decides that the smoke has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, extent, colour, smell or density of the smoke creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises.
  • smoke generated by solid fuel heaters - where a visible plume of smoke extends into the air above the neighbour's premises at least 15 minutes after it has been lit, and an authorised officer decides that the nature, extent, colour, smell or density of the smoke creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises.
Air Pollution  :  Last Revised: Mon Aug 6th 2018
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