Air quality in Aberdeenshire

Air Quality in Aberdeenshire is generally very good. A three-day forecast of air quality is available on the website Air Quality in Scotland. Enter your post code on the website and check what the air quality is like near you.

Air quality in your neighbourhood 

Garden bonfires 

Burning garden waste produces smoke, especially if it is damp and smouldering. This will contain pollutants including carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles. It is a common misconception that there are specific byelaws that prohibit garden bonfires or specify times they can be lit – there aren’t. 

If only dry garden waste is burnt the occasional bonfire should not cause a major problem. However, if a bonfire becomes a persistent problem, interfering substantially with your well-being, comfort or enjoyment of your property then action may be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if it was determined to be a statutory nuisance. If the fire is only occasional, it is difficult to prove nuisance in law. 

If bothered by smoke, approach your neighbour and explain the problem. You might feel awkward, but they may not be aware of the distress they are causing and it will hopefully make them more considerate in the future. If this fails contact us. An officer will investigate your complaint and if a statutory nuisance is determined steps will be taken to secure a remedy. 

Please read this leaflet from Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) for information on garden bonfire guidance (PDF 567KB).

Bonfires on industrial, commercial or construction sites 

If a bonfire of industrial/commercial waste is emitting black smoke it is an offence under Section 2 of the Clean Air Act 1993. Contact us to report black smoke from industrial or commercial burning or burning on construction sites.

Local air quality management 

Aberdeenshire Council’s Environmental Health Officers have responsibilities under the Environment Act 1995 to review and assess air quality within the local authority area. The pollutants that local authorities must consider are decided by government and listed in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 2007. An annual review of the potential sources of these pollutants is carried out, and a report is submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments recording the findings of each annual review. 

You can find our annual progress reports on the Scottish Air Quality Database or by contacting Environmental Health at 

Planning for air quality 

Air quality could be a consideration in some planning submissions, particularly for the following types of development: 

  • Proposals giving rise to a significant change in traffic volumes or types of traffic using local roads (for example, an increase in heavy goods vehicles), or over 100 car parking spaces
  • Proposals that could give rise to potentially significant impacts during construction (for example, dust affecting nearby residences), or long term construction sites with significant movements of heavy goods vehicles
  • Proposals that include biomass plant or combined heat and power plant (CHP) or diesel generators
  • Proposals for new intensive poultry or pig farming activities
  • Proposals for new mineral extraction or quarrying activities
  • Proposals for major new petrol stations
  • Proposals for new industrial sites

The Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) have produced a series of guidance documents to assist developers and local authorities with air quality considerations during planning for new developments:

If you are unsure whether air quality issues should be considered during planning for your new development, please contact us to discuss.

Biomass and CHP

Aberdeenshire Council supports the provision of heat and/or electricity from renewable sources, including biomass. There are a number of guidance documents available to assist developers, businesses and homeowners who are considering biomass as a renewable energy option:

If you choose to install a biomass or CHP system you are required to provide details of your proposals to Environmental Health.  Please complete the appropriate form below:

Completed forms should be returned to If you have any queries about the form or would like to discuss your biomass or CHP proposals with us, please contact us.