Air Pollution

Air Quality is affected by pollutants emitted into our atmosphere and indoor environments. There are a number of causes and events that contribute to our air quality.

The major causes of air pollution are:

  • Vehicle emissions
  • Backyard burning
  • Smoke from solid fuel stoves and heaters
  • Dust from unsealed roads
  • Extractive and other industries


Air pollution affects everyone differently depending on health status, exposure to pollutants and levels of pollution. Council is responsible for the management of local air quality issues and has the power to take action under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 in accordance with the Protection of the Environment Clean Air Regulation 2010.

Wood Smoke

Snowy Monaro Regional Council with the assistance of Environment Protection Authority undertake to educate residents of how to better manage and use solid fuel heaters in an effort to improve the air quality in our region. 

Wood smoke can have serious effects on health and the environment.

Often people will ask “What can I do about pollution” – following the suggestions on this page will help make your solid fuel heater more efficient and help the environment.

There are many resources available to assist with choosing the best heating for your home: 


Can I just put in a new fireplace or replace an old one?

No. An application is required to be made through Council before a solid fuel heater is installed into a premise.

This is so that Council can ensure compliance with manufacturers specifications and that the system is not detrimental to the building structure.

To apply you will need to: 

  • Complete an Application Form 
  • Provide a Floor Plan of premise to show where the heater will be located. 
  • Provide documentation which shows compliance with AS4013 – Emissions – (generally you will find this in the brochure which is provided by the retailer). 



Backyard Burning

If you are wanting to undertake burning of dead and dry vegetation from routine property maintenance, you will need to consider if approval is required before you burn.

Approval may be required from Council, NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW, depending on where you live and the time of year that you’re wanting to burn.

Its important to remember that there are alternatives to undertaking pile burns. As burning vegetation in urban areas is discouraged, it is recommended that vegetation should be disposed of in garden organics (green) bins or taken to one of Council's Waste Management Facilities.


How to obtain individual approval

Council is responsible for the management of local air quality issues and has the power to take action under the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997 in accordance with the Protection of the Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2010. In order to help reduce the impact of wood smoke on human health and the environment, Council need to assess the proposed burn area to ensure that those around you are not adversely affected by your burning.

If you wish to burn vegetation in a residential area that doesn’t meet the deemed criteria, you will need to apply to Council for approval through Council’s written application form. Depending on the location, you’ll need written support from any adjoining neighbours with dwellings within 75 metres of the proposed burn. An application must be made 21 days prior to the proposed date of burning.

Council officers will assess the application in accordance with the POEO (Clean Air) Regulation 2010, taking the following matters into consideration:

  • The impact on regional air quality and amenity 
  • The impact on local air quality and amenity
  • The feasibility of re-use, recycling or other alternative means of disposal
  • Any opinions of the sector of the public likely to be affected by the proposal approved.

Once all this is considered Council will advise the applicant in writing if they are permitted to burn.


It should be noted that generally in residential areas other methods of disposing of vegetation are available therefore burning will only be permitted as a last resort.

An approval from Council to burn does not negate the requirement to apply for an open air burning permit from your local Fire Service during the Bush Fire Danger period. Contact your local NSW RFS Fire Control Centre if you live in a rural fire district, or Fire & Rescue NSW Station if you live in a fire district to obtain a fire permit.

You may be charged a fee for Council to assess this application. An approval will list conditions that seek to minimise adverse impacts and there are significant penalties for failing to obtain these approvals or comply with their conditions