Demolitions - Enforcement

Building, or demolition work, can cause problems for users of the highway and for neighbours including businesses adjacent to or in the proximity of the site. You can reduce or avoid nuisance or the possibility of any action being taken by the council, if you follow this advice.

Tell the Council and neighbours

Give the Local Authority a minimum of 6 weeks notice of any intended demolition work. The council may impose conditions about how the works should be carried out. Send a letter to all adjacent neighbours and businesses within close proximity to the site before work starts, informing them about the demolition works and what to expect. Provide a contact name and telephone number and keep them informed.

Deal promptly with any complaints received on site.


Keep dust down by spraying with water.


Noise from construction/demolition sites is controlled by the Control of Pollution Act (COPA) 1974. Demolition companies and contractors are required to take all reasonable steps to control noise and to demonstrate that they are applying 'Best Practicable Means'. Particularly noisy operations (eg using heavy machinery) may need stricter control. Pumps and generators should not be left running overnight unless silent or noise reduced, if they can be heard beyond the boundary of the site.

The hours of working will be:

  • Monday to Friday - 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday - 9am to 2pm

No Sunday or Bank Holiday working unless in an emergency.

If a company wishes to work outside these hours (on a construction/demolition site) they will normally be required to submit an application for prior consent.

If noise problems occur, the council and the neighbours can take legal action. If you think your work may cause a significant nuisance to the neighbours from noise or vibration, apply for "prior consent" from the Council who will confirm the level of noise considered acceptable.


Subject to certain conditions, the Clean Air (Emission of Dark Smoke) (Exemption) Regulations 1969 allows dark smoke to be emitted from the burning of timber and other specific waste matter which results from the demolition of a building or clearance of a site in connection with any building operation or work of engineering construction.  The conditions are as follows.

  • There is no other reasonably safe and practicable method of disposing of the matter
  • Burning is carried out in such a manner as to minimise the emission of dark smoke
  • Burning is carried out under the direct and continuous supervision of the occupier of the premises concerned or a person authorised to act on their behalf
  • Stop the bonfire at the end of the working day.

Obstruction and damage to pavements

Do not let vehicles or materials block or damage the pavement.

Do not leave obstacles, holes or trenches where they are a danger, especially to disabled people (for example, the visually impaired).

The Council may charge you for any damage caused to pavements, kerbs or verges by lorries or heavy plant.  Arrange a pre-demolition inspection with the Street Care Inspector by contacting Customer Services on 0161 253 5353.

Other requirements

Although largely repealed by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Control of Pollution Act 1974 is still in force in regard to noise from construction and demolition sites.  Under Section 60 of the Act, the Local Authority may serve a notice imposing requirements as to the way in which the works are to be carried out.  The notice may in particular:

  • specify the plant or machinery which is, or is not, to be used
  • specify that the best practicable means to minimise noise be employed at all times
  • specify that all plant and machinery be properly silenced and maintained in accordance with manufacturers' instructions
  • specify the hours during which the works may be carried out
  • specify permissible noise levels.

Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act allows anyone who intends to carry out construction works to apply in advance to the Local Authority for consent as to the methods by which the work is to be carried out. The activities covered are as follows:

  • Erection, construction, alteration, repair or maintenance of buildings, structures or roads
  • The breaking up, opening or boring under any road in connection with construction or maintenance works
  • Demolition or dredging
  • Engineering construction.

For further information on prior consent applications, please contact the Pollution Control Section on 0161 253 5353 to discuss your requirements.