Portsmouth City Council’s pollution control service regulates pollution of various types, especially noise and air pollution.

We also help with applications for planning and entertainment licences, and work with the contaminated land team to help developers and others to ensure land is made safe where necessary.

Pollution control operates air pollution monitoring stations to help assess air quality, and is also concerned with the quality of bathing water – for further environmental information visit the Environment Agency website.

Southern Water publishes information about coastal bathing waters.

Air pollution and complaints

Pollution control will typically investigate the following types of complaints about air pollution:

  • Smoke emitted from premises, including dark smoke
  • Fumes or gases emitted from premises
  • Dust, steam or odours from industrial, trade or business premises

The council has a range of powers under the Environmental Protection Act and the Clean Air Act to deal with these types of emissions if:

  • They are so significant or repetitive as to be prejudicial to health
  • Have a detrimental material impact on neighbouring premises

Pollution control also deals with a wide range of complaints from certain prescribed industrial premises.

The south west corner of Portsmouth is a smoke control area, which limits fuel usage to smokeless fuels in the area – except where approved combustion equipment is used. Chimneys for larger industrial sites across the city may need to be approved by pollution control.

For more information or to apply for authorisation or exemption visit DEFRA, contact us at the details above, or browse the smoke control areas on this map.

Domestic bonfires

There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause – follow the link for further guidance on garden bonfires.

In Portsmouth, we advise disposing of waste in other ways, such as composting or using our garden waste service, or taking waste to Portsmouth Recycling Centre.

If regular bonfires are causing a nuisance, you may report it using the ‘other’ category of our ‘Street issues’ form.

If you would like to discuss your plans for a bonfire please email public.protection@portsmouthcc.gov.uk with the details.

Dust nuisance

Dust problems can arise on demolition or construction sites, especially during periods of dry or windy weather – and particularly on sites bordered by residential properties.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that Best Practicable Means (BPM) must be taken to prevent dust causing a nuisance – it is the duty of the contractor to demonstrate to pollution control that all reasonable remedial action has been implemented.

It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to cause nuisance to the inhabitants of a neighbourhood by generating dust.

In cases where the environment and public protection service has received complaints or has reason to believe that dust-related nuisance is likely to occur, an investigation will be undertaken. If on-site activities are considered to be a nuisance the contractor could be served an Abatement Notice.

The environment and public protection best practice guidance (below) helps developers identify good practice methods for demolition and construction.

Compliance with the guidance does not necessarily exempt contractors from prosecution under demolition and construction legislation, although adhering to BPM could be used as a defence from prosecution.

Best practice mitigation measures should be carried out at all times – but if impossible to fully comply with the guidance for certain emergency works, the developer should provide environment and public protection as much notice as possible.

Light complaints

Artificial light serves many functions from the practical (extending working hours, ensuring safety at work and improving security) to purely decorative. Unfortunately, poorly designed, directed or maintained lighting can cause problems for neighbours – these are light nuisances.

Follow the link to read government guidance on how councils deal with complaints about artificial light nuisances.

Light pollution is any form of artificial light which shines outside the area it needs to illuminate, including light which is directed into the night sky creating a sky glow. Although light pollution may affect the beauty of the night sky, our view of the stars or the general scenery, it is not a light nuisance unless it interferes with a person’s use of their property or is prejudicial to their health.

Contact us or report pollution/nuisance

Please direct queries or complaints about pollution to the City Helpdesk on 023 9283 4092, email cityhelpdesk@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or write to us at City Helpdesk, Portsmouth City Council, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL.

Domestic bonfires

If you would like to discuss your plans for a bonfire please email cityhelpdesk@portsmouthcc.gov.uk with the details.

Further information on pollution control

Street Lights strategy and vision