Inner West Council

Air Pollution

Council's Environmental Health Officers are responsible for the investigation and enforcement of reported air pollution incidents within the Ashfield municipality (excluding NSW Environment Protection Authority licensed premises).

Air pollution includes emission of odours, smoke, fuel or any other substances to the air.


Council’s Development Control Plan (DCP) “Houses & Dual Occupancies – C15 prohibits the installation of woodheaters in dwellings as it may be a source of air pollution for the local region and have a negative impact on public health and the environment.

However, when an existing woodheater is used correctly, it is a good source for warmth and produces very little woodsmoke from it’s chimney.  As such the easiest way to know if you are using your woodheater correctly is to go outside and check how much smoke is coming from your chimney. Use the following guide as a quick reference:

As a simple rule, if you can see or smell smoke, then you are not getting the most from your woodheater and are impacting on your neighbours and family.

Quick Fix Tips
Below are a few tips from the EPA Stay Warm, Breathe Easy brochure to help you get the most out of your woodheater and reduce the impact on your neighbours and the environment:

  • Always burning small logs of aged, dry hardwood, unseasoned wood has more moisture which makes a heater smoke;
  • Storing wood under cover in a dry ventilated area, freshly cut wood needs to be stored for 8-12 months;
  • Never burning rubbish, driftwood or treated or painted wood, which pollutes the air and can be poisonous;
  • Using plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly, when lighting a cold heater;
  • Stacking wood loosely in your fire box so air can circulate, don't cram the firebox full;
  • Keeping the flame lively and bright, your fire should only smoke for a few minutes when you first light it and when you add extra fuel. Open the air controls fully for 5 minutes before and 15-20 minutes after reloading;
  • Don’t let your heater smoulder overnight, keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame;
    Checking your chimney regularly, if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire;
  • Cleaning the chimney every year, to prevent creosote build-up.

If you are buying a new heater, consider alternatives to wood.

Commercial Food Businesses
Discharges and odours from food business cooking processes may impact upon nearby development if the mechanical exhaust system is not properly designed and maintained. The system must be designed in accordance with Australian Standard AS1668 Part2-1991.

Grease filters and odour control equipment for the system must be regularly cleaned and maintained to achieve designed performance standards.