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Pollution control

We investigate and regulate various forms of pollution. These include contaminated land, industrial emissions and nuisance from smoke, dust and odour. We also provide advice and guidance about water quality, petroleum licensing and what you can do to prevent pollution.

Other issues such as water pollution, dead animals or dumping of hazardous waste can be reported to the Environment Agency. A full list of what can be reported to the Environmental Agency can be found towards the bottom of the page.

What happens during an investigation?

We investigate complaints regarding persistent bonfires and odour or dust from commercial premises and construction sites. If you report an incident which is affecting you at your property we will typically:

  • Assess if there is a statutory nuisance affecting you at your property, or if some other pollution offence is being caused
  • Take observations and if a statutory nuisance is witnessed, we will contact the perpetrator. 
  • Give an initial warning, unless there is a specific offence being caused, where we may serve a legal notice immediately.
  • Take appropriate enforcement action if the problem continues
  • Keep you informed of the action we are taking.


It is not illegal to have a domestic bonfire unless they occur regularly and/or the activity is unreasonable because of the material being burnt or the amount of smoke produced. However, you can dispose of waste in less environmentally damaging ways:

  1. Sign up to the our garden waste scheme
  2. Compost garden and kitchen waste
  3. Arrange a bulky item collection free of charge
  4. Take items that are not suitable for orange bags to a recycling centre.

You should dispose of business waste in an appropriate manner. Burning is not allowed and we will report any instances to the Environment Agency for investigation.

Smoke control and burning solid fuels

Leicester is a smoke control area. This means it is an offence to emit smoke within the city from a chimney, furnace or fixed boiler. The current maximum level of fine is £1,000 for each offence.

You should use authorised fuels that are capable of burning in an open fireplace without producing smoke. It is an offence to acquire an unauthorised fuel (for example coal or wood) for use in a smoke control area unless it is used in an exempt appliance.

Other pollution incidents

The Environment Agency deal with various incidents that are not dealt with by us, these include:

  • Damage or danger to the natural environment
  • Pollution to water or land
  • Poaching or illegal fishing
  • Fish in distress or dead fish
  • Watercourse blocked by vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • Illegal dumping of hazardous waste or large amounts of industrial waste
  • Incidents at waste sites already regulated by the agency
  • Illegal abstraction from watercourses
  • Collapsed or badly damaged river or canal banks.