Pollution

Air Quality

Air Quality is all about the air we breathe and the effect certain pollutants may have on our health. The standards set are all health related. We monitor air quality continuously at four sites in East Dunbartonshire:

  • Townhead, Kirkintilloch
  • Park Road/Main Street, Milngavie
  • Crowhill Road, Bishopbriggs
  • Roman Road/ Drymen Road, Bearsden

You can access East Dunbartonshire Council Annual Progress Reports here.

If you have a respiratory condition, you may wish to sign up for the Air Quality Know and Respond service which gives warnings when air pollutant levels are expected to be higher.

You can view more air quality information on The Scottish Air Quality site.

Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)

These are areas where pollutants may exceed acceptable levels and further action may be needed.  We have two Air Quality Management Areas:

Bishopbriggs 
Bearsden

Smoke control areas and Wood burning stoves

Large areas of East Dunbartonshire are Smoke Control Areas which means it is an offence to burn unauthorised fuel unless it is used in an exempt appliance in these designated areas.   

It is becoming increasingly popular for households to install alternative heat and power sources in their homes. Environmental Health have experienced an increase in complaints about smoke and odour from domestic burning of solid fuel – particularly wood burning stoves.

Before installing an appliance for burning solid fuel in your home you should seriously consider the following:

  • Nuisance from smoke and smell may be experienced by your neighbours and lead to complaints
  • Planning approval may be required
  • Building warrant may be required

*Please note that the law is changing and any solid fuel appliance being installed must be “exempt”. If installing or opening up an open fire, only authorised (smokeless) fuel may be used – no matter where you live.

For further information on authorised fuels and exempt appliances, please visit the Defra website.

For further information on avoiding problems, visit the BURNRIGHT website or contact the Environmental Health team. 

For information relating to bonfires

Vehicle Emissions

Engine idling

As part of East Dunbartonshire Councils commitment to improve air quality officers form Environmental Health carry out routine idling patrols throughout the district.

Idling refers to leaving your vehicle engine running unnecessarily when your vehicle is stationary. This pollutes the environment, costs you money as it wastes fuel and is an offence under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Regulations 2003.

If you fail to turn off your engine when requested to by an authorised officer you may be issued with a £20 fine (rising to £40 if unpaid after 28 days).

This legislation covers any vehicle on a public road.

This legislation does not apply to:

  • Vehicles in car parks or private ground
  • Vehicles stopped at traffic lights
  • Vehicles in slow moving traffic (such as in congestion or road works)
  • Vehicles under test or repair
  • Vehicles defrosting a windscreen in cold weather

Vehicle Emission Testing

Vehicle exhaust fumes are the main contributing factor to local air pollution levels and contain many substances which are harmful to health.

Officers from this council acting in partnership with other local authorities carry out roadside vehicle emission testing to help improve air quality within East Dunbartonshire. 

This quick test may require you to rev your engine. This should not damage an engine regularly serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. If for any reason this should not be carried out on your vehicle please notify the technician.

Should your vehicle fail this first test, a further full test will be carried out.

Should your vehicle fail the full test you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £60 (rising to £90 if not paid within 28 days). This fixed penalty may be waived if you demonstrate that the fault has been rectified within 14 days and that the vehicle now complies with the law.

Further information on the above issues can be found through the links provided or by contacting the Environmental Health team.

Agricultural odours

Environmental Health receive complaints about agricultural odours within the district. Generally, the most common source of odour complaints relate to the storing and spreading of SEPA-regulated bio-solids (sewage sludge), animal manures and slurries (muck spreading). Prevailing winds can carry these odours some distance across fields and into residential areas.  Likewise, settled weather periods may prevent the odours from dissipating up into the atmosphere.  Muck spreading is recognised as standard agricultural practice and as East Dunbartonshire villages and towns are surrounded by a great deal of working farmland such odour must be expected from time to time.

Spreading often takes place late winter before summer planting and early autumn following harvest. It can also happen at other times of the year when weather conditions are favourable.

The spreading of pre-treated sewage sludge and the incorporation of manure into agricultural land is a perfectly lawful activity and considered the Best Practicable Environmental Option for disposal of such wastes.  It is not always possible to confirm as to the expected duration or anticipated intensity of odours as this can be dependent upon weather conditions. 

The Code of Good Agricultural Practice (CoGAP) guidance suggests that where livestock manures, organic wastes and treated materials are applied to bare soil or stubble that they are incorporated as soon as possible, and within 24 hours, to minimise odour and ammonia losses.  Ploughing is the most effective technique to minimise odour in most circumstances.  This is usually done during drier conditions so as watercourses are not polluted by surface run-off.

Please note that there is no requirement to notify the local authority or request permission from the local authority before spreading.

If there is evidence of best practice not being followed with the result that the smell is unreasonably intrusive, Environmental Health may take formal action using statutory nuisance legislation.  However, formal action will generally only be taken where informal intervention would not succeed or where there have been repeated incidents of failing to follow best practice. It is also important to understand that taking formal action against the farmer or contractor will not make the smell go away immediately.

If you have any further concerns or complaints about odours in your area please do not hesitate to contact Environmental Health.

Asbestos

The most common places you may find asbestos in the house are:

  • Garage roof and wall panels
  • Roof tiles
  • Insulation material in heating systems
  • Airing cupboard linings, shelving and doors
  • Textured coating eg Artex
  • Storage heaters
  • Ironing boards

What do I do if I find Asbestos?

We do not survey or dispose of asbestos. If you think you have material containing asbestos in your home- do not disturb it and seek professional guidance on how to deal with it.  Further information can be found on HSE guidance note ‘em9’