When wood smoke is a problem, Council advises that you first try to solve the problem amicably by talking to the person who is causing the excessive smoke. This approach also helps to maintain a good relationship with your neighbour. If this is unsuccessful in resolving the matter, a complaint can be lodged to Council in writing, by phone or in person. Each complaint received is assessed against the following criteria:
- Is there a public health risk and
- Is the issue impacting on the broader public or can it be resolved privately
Based on the above criteria, Council determines if the complaint requires further investigation or if the matter can be resolved independently of Council through the Community Justice Centre. If the above criteria have been satisfied, Council can investigate the matter and determine the appropriate action.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 provides regulatory powers for local councils to issue smoke abatement notices. These notices may be issued where a household has been given information on correct wood heater operation but makes little or no effort to prevent excessive emissions of wood smoke. A smoke abatement notice directs the person to whom the notice is issued to ensure that the excessive smoke is not emitted from the chimney at any time after 21 days following the giving of the notice.