Environmental problems

The topics covered here look at some common environmental issues and who to contact if there is a problem:

Air quality

If you are suffering from poor air quality as a result of dust, odour or smoke from a neighbour, we may be able to help you. We can intervene if the problem is considered to be a 'statutory nuisance', if this is the case the problem would need to be persistent and preventing you from enjoying your home or garden on a regular basis.

Councils are required to carry out air quality testing and identify any areas that are particularly high in pollutants. Any identified areas are known as 'air quality management areas' these are monitored and regularly assessed with an action plan put in place to try and minimise pollution. Shown below are the air quality reports for West Suffolk:

Asbestos

As a rule asbestos should only be removed by a licensed professional. For more details about asbestos and for licensed contractors see:

We offer an asbestos collection and disposal services for domestic customers only, refer to our electrical, clinical and hazardous waste page for more information.

Bonfires

There are no specific laws restricting non commercial bonfires. However, you should not burn anything that is likely to cause a danger to health such as rubber or plastic.

We can only intervene if a bonfire can be considered a statutory nuisance, this means it will have to be persistent and prevent you enjoying your property. If this is the case we would need to know how often the bonfires are lit, how long they last, where they are taking place and how they are affecting you. We will not be able to intervene if the problem is isolated such as the lighting of a single bonfire.

Contaminated land

Contaminated land is any land where the Local Authority believes the amount and intensity of pollution to be so bad that it may well pose a threat to human health or the wider environment such as wildlife or water. Councils have a responsibility to identify and act upon any cases of contaminated land. If contaminated land has been identified we will look at ways to resolve the threat to health and the environment. The land owner or those responsible for the pollution will be expected to pay for the clean up. For more information read:

There are currently no entries on the contaminated land public register for either the Forest Heath or St Edmundsbury areas (last updated 25 February 2017).

Contaminated Land is also a material consideration within the planning process and we have produced a number of guidance notes to assist developers, agents and consultants through this process. We have also developed a questionnaire, which we accept as part of the assessment for 1 or 2 dwelling developments on existing residential or greenfield sites.

Derelict buildings

In this instance we have the right to board up or secure any building that is considered a danger to public health. In most cases we would inform the property owner by serving a notice but in extreme cases we would act immediately. We have the authority to do this under section 29 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Drains and sewers

Drains and private sewers are the responsibility of the property owner. Drains are considered private up until they meet the boundary of the property or they join to a neighbouring sewer. Once beyond private boundaries they are considered to be public sewers. Public sewers are the responsibility of the sewerage company - in West Suffolk this is Anglian Water

High hedges

Overgrown hedges on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. In extreme cases or where a solution cannot be found between neighbours, we can intervene and take action. Find out more and how to make a complaint from our: hedges page

Overgrown hedges and trees on highways are managed by Suffolk County Council, you can use their highway maintenance form to report any problems. Trees on major trunk roads are managed by Highways England, contact them on 0300 1235000 to report problems.

If you have a query about District or Borough owned trees you can contact us to discuss your concern.

Water

The Environment Agency is responsible for maintaining or improving the quality of fresh, marine, surface and underground water in England and Wales. You can report any environmental incidents such as water pollution by calling the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 80 70 60.

Anglian Water supplies the mains water to properties in West Suffolk. The Drinking Water Inspectorate require water suppliers to ensure the quality of the water being provided. An annual report is compiled showing this, you can access the data from the Drinking Water Inspectorate, annual report If you are experiencing interruptions with your water supply or have a leak you want to report, contact Anglian Water directly.

We are responsible for monitoring private water supplies (any supply that is not from a mains supply) such as from boreholes, wells or springs. We monitor these supplies for bacteria and chemicals. It is our responsibility to ensure that private water supplies are fit for human consumption and domestic purposes such as cooking and washing. If you are concerned about a private water supply or would like more advice then contact us.