Backyard Burning & Woodheaters

Smoke from burning activities can contribute to excessive levels of fine particles in the air, which are known to increase the incidence of respiratory diseases and can also create a nuisance to your neighbours.

Smoke emissions in Tasmania are regulated by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations 2019.

Backyard Burning

Under the Regulations a person must not burn off on land less than 2000 m² unless they can demonstrate they have taken “reasonable steps” to prevent or minimise air pollution.

“Reasonable steps” means taking into account things like:

  • Wind directions and speed
  • Weather conditions
  • How long the vegetation is likely to burn and;
  • The proximity of nearby dwellings.

If Council believes you have not given adequate consideration to these things, financial penalties can be applied. Because of the potential to cause nuisance, the Council does not recommend people who live in residential areas undertake backyard burning on their property.

If you are planning to burn off, you can only burn dry vegetation. Under no circumstances can you burn the following:

  • Abestos
  • Coated wire
  • Paint or chemical containers and residues
  • Treated or painted timber
  • Rubber (including foam rubber)
  • Plastic
  • Oil
  • Household waste
  • Linen
  • Polystyrene

If you live on a block greater than 2000 m², you are permitted to burn dry vegetation, but you cannot cause a nuisance under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 or the Local Government Act 1993.

Heating & Cooking Appliances

Smoke emission limits also apply to certain heating and cooking appliances. Under the Regulations “heating appliances” includes woodheaters, fireplaces, fire pits and fire pots, and “cooking appliances” includes solid-fuel-burning barbecues and solid-fuel-burning pizza ovens. Note that gas and electric heating and cooking appliances are not included.

It is acceptable for heating and cooking appliances to emit some smoke, but the smoke cannot be excessive or continue for extended periods of time.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) provides a number of resources regarding smoke management:

My neighbour is creating a smoke issue. What can I do?

Quite often, people will not realise that smoke from their fire or other activities is affecting people in the area. If no one tells them about the problem, they don’t know it exists. So as a first step, it is best to approach your neighbour politely and let them know the smoke from their property is bothering you. From there, you can discuss the problem and try to find a solution.

If you cannot reach an agreement, you can contact the Council on 03 6424 0511 for assistance. The Council will assess the situation and, if there is a problem, encourage your neighbour to address it. If this approach is unsuccessful, we can take enforcement action if the situation is bad enough.

For further information or advice you can contact Council’s Environmental Health team on 03 6424 0511.

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