Air pollution

Actions on air quality

Regulation of industrial processes

The Council issues permits to certain industrial processes that may emit to air. The permits include conditions to ensure good practice is used to minimise the emissions and with which the operator must comply. You can see the locations of permitted installations within the borough on the LoveCleanAir website. The Council regularly inspects the installations to ensure compliance. Some installations are regulated by the Environment Agency and the Council works closely with the Agency to co-ordinate regulatory actions.

For more information, see our environmental permits page. 


Control of emissions from new developments

The Pollution Control Team provides comment and advice on planning applications that have the potential to significantly impact on air quality. As the whole of the borough is an Air Quality Management Area, developers are required to submit an Air Quality Assessment with applications for developments that are likely to lead to an increase in concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and/or PM10. Where appropriate, we will request that an Air Quality Neutral assessment is carried out. For more information on assessing the air quality impacts from new developments, click on the Information for developers page.


Control of emissions from chimneys

The whole of the borough has been declared a Smoke Control Area. It is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to allow dark smoke to be emitted from a chimney (or similar) within a Smoke Control Area. This applies to domestic properties as well as commercial and industrial premises. In practice, this means that is an offence to burn ordinary logs and coal in an open fireplace or other appliance that is not exempt. More information, including the lists of authorised (smokeless) fuels and exempt appliances can be found on the DEFRA webpage.


Control of smoke from bonfires

It is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 to burn materials likely to give rise to dark smoke on commercial premises. Such materials include soft furnishings, carpet, rubber and treated wood. Regulations on the disposal of waste may also apply. Therefore, we encourage businesses to have a contract in place for disposing of all waste that it is unable to reuse or recycle.

The regulations do not apply to bonfires on domestic premises so garden bonfires are permitted. However, subject to certain exemptions, we are able to take action where pollutants originating from any premises are found to be prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance.

More information about garden bonfires can be found on our Garden Fires and Barbecues page.


Check Air Quality Benefits from vegetation in your area

Trees and vegetation can have a positive impact on reducing people's exposure to air pollution so keeping the borough green has potential health benefits. The ONS have developed a programme for residents to check how much airborne pollution is removed by vegetation within a one-hectare area centred on their postcode.  Residents can also see the monetary value of this pollution removal. Type in your postcode  into the ONS online checker and check the results.


Air Pollution Alerts

AirText is a free service that alerts subscribers prior to days when air pollution levels are predicted to be higher. The service is available to all but is particularly useful for those who suffer from conditions such as asthma, emphysema, angina, etc and their carers so that precautions can be taken.


Low Pollution Walking Routes

As well as great exercise, walking instead of travelling by motor vehicle helps to reduce levels of air pollution. The route can be planned using a journey planner which can show the most direct route as well as the route where the air pollution levels are the lowest. is also available as a phone app and provides information on calories burned, CO2 saved as well as showing the hill profile for the route chosen.

Earn rewards while helping to improve air quality

Sutton Council are working with BetterPoints to reward residents for travelling sustainably and helping us improve air quality in the borough. The BetterPoints app tracks your sustainable travel habits, rewards you with points, and you can convert these into vouchers for High Street shops or donate them to charity. For more information please visit the website for the app