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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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The Planning department of my local council will not act on

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The Planning department of my local council will not act on my families behalf, after my neighbour installed a wood burning stove in his bungalow, which is located down hill at an angle of approx. 30 degrees, 6ft behind our 3 storey property. We do not live in a smoke control area, so no restrictions on what is burned are in place.
The top of the chimney is on level with our second storey rear window and below our rear bedroom window. The safe dispersal of the products of combustion is not guaranteed. Smoke hits our windows and can be smelt in doors.
We are no longer on good terms with the neighbour because of the treat against our health, both physically and mentally. We also fear the negative effect this is having on our properties resale value.
Can we use UK law to obtain an abatement notice against the use of the wood burning stove and pursue the local council and the neighbours for compensation.
Thank you.

As you are not living within a smoke control area, there is very little the Council can do here I am afraid and I do not see the relevance of filing a noise pollution complaint against what is essentially an air pollution problem. I do not see your Council issuing an abatement notice here.

You could go to court for a order stopping your neighbour by claiming private nuisance/trespass through his interference with your use and enjoyment of your property under the Rylands V. Fletcher case, but this type of claim can be complex, lengthy and costly.

You may consider speaking to your neighbour about this and see if he is willing to compromise in any way. Sometimes this works.

Hope this helps
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Thank you for your answer.

We spoke to the neighbour before, during and after the installation, to no avail.

We thought we were protected by law under the following, for which we pay our taxes.


Building Regulations 2000 Approved Document J states.

Flues discharging at low level near boundaries
1.51 Flues discharging at low level near boundaries should do so at positions where the building owner will always be able to ensure safe flue gas dispersal. Etc.

Height of flues
2.8 Flues should be high enough to ensure sufficient draught to clear the products of combustion. The height necessary for this will depend upon the type of appliance, the height of the building, the type of flue and the number of bends in it, and a careful assessment of local wind patterns. Etc.

Outlets from flues
2.10 the outlet from a flue should be above the roof of the building in a position where the products of combustion can discharge freely and will not present a fire hazard, whatever the wind conditions.
2.11 Flue outlet positions which can meet the requirements in common circumstances are shown in Diagram 17. The chimney heights and/or separations shown may need to be increased in particular cases where wind exposure, surrounding tall buildings, high trees or high ground could have adverse effects on flue draught.

Can we not have a solicitors letter sent to the Planning Department to compel them to enforce their own laws?

Without looking at your neighbour's chimney, it would be difficult to advise whether it is flouting the Building Regulations. Even if it was, your Council would be the Authority to take action and it seems like it is not willing to take the case any further.

You may get a Solicitor to write your neighbour a letter.

This is a Q&A site and we only provide advice online, we do not act for clients.

All the best
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