Environmental problems

Tackling climate change while protecting and improving our environment is a priority for West Suffolk Council. Find out more about energy efficiency, sustainability and how we are working to tackle climate change on our Environment pages.

The topics covered here look at some common environmental issues and who to contact if there is a problem:


As a rule asbestos should only be removed by a licensed professional. For more details about asbestos and for licensed contractors see:

We offer an asbestos collection and disposal services for domestic customers only, refer to our electrical, clinical and hazardous waste page for more information.


There are no specific laws restricting non commercial bonfires. However, you should not burn anything that is likely to cause a danger to health such as rubber or plastic.

We can only intervene if a bonfire can be considered a statutory nuisance, this means it will have to be persistent and prevent you enjoying your property. If this is the case we would need to know how often the bonfires are lit, how long they last, where they are taking place and how they are affecting you. We will not be able to intervene if the problem is isolated such as the lighting of a single bonfire.

  • Bonfires should be used as a last resort after separating recyclable materials- this includes composting of garden waste.
  • Make sure that you follow these steps to reduce your impact on neighbours:
    • always keep the number of bonfires you have to a minimum
    • be aware of the wind direction as this may carry smoke into neighbouring properties
    • do not use chemicals such as engine oil, methylated spirit or vehicle fuels to start a bonfire
    • it is polite to tell neighbours before lighting a bonfire as they may wish to use outside space for drying clothes
    • make sure the fire is under supervision at all times and make sure a means of extinguishing the bonfire is available

Contaminated land

Contaminated land is any land where the local authority believes the amount and intensity of pollution to be so bad that it may well pose a threat to human health or the wider environment such as wildlife or water. Councils have a responsibility to identify and act upon any cases of contaminated land. If contaminated land has been identified we will look at ways to resolve the threat to health and the environment. The land owner or those responsible for the pollution will be expected to pay for the clean up. For more information read:

There are currently no entries on our contaminated land public register (last updated 24 April 2024).

Contaminated land is also a material consideration within the planning process and we have produced a number of guidance notes to assist developers, agents and consultants through this process. We have also developed a questionnaire, which we accept as part of the assessment for one- or two-dwelling developments on existing residential or greenfield sites.

Derelict buildings

In this instance we have the right to board up or secure any building that is considered a danger to public health. In most cases we would inform the property owner by serving a notice but in extreme cases we would act immediately. We have the authority to do this under section 29 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

Drains and sewers

Drains and private sewers are the responsibility of the property owner. Drains are considered private up until they meet the boundary of the property or they join to a neighbouring sewer. Once beyond private boundaries they are considered to be public sewers. Public sewers are the responsibility of the sewerage company - in West Suffolk this is Anglian Water

High hedges

Overgrown hedges on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. In extreme cases or where a solution cannot be found between neighbours, we can intervene and take action. Find out more and how to make a complaint from our: hedges page

Overgrown hedges and trees on highways are managed by Suffolk County Council. Visit their website to Report a tree or hedge affecting the highway. Trees on major trunk roads are managed by National Highways, contact them on 0300 1235000 to report problems.

If you have a query about district or borough owned trees you can contact us to discuss your concern.



The Environment Agency is responsible for maintaining or improving the quality of fresh, marine, surface and underground water in England and Wales. You can report any environmental incidents such as water pollution by calling the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 80 70 60.

Anglian Water supplies the mains water to properties in West Suffolk. The Drinking Water Inspectorate require water suppliers to ensure the quality of the water being provided. An annual report is compiled showing this, you can access the data from the Drinking Water Inspectorate, annual report If you are experiencing interruptions with your water supply or have a leak you want to report, contact Anglian Water directly.

Private water supplies

We are responsible for monitoring private water supplies (any supply that is not from a mains supply) such as from boreholes, wells or springs. We monitor these supplies for bacteria and chemicals. It is our responsibility to make sure that private water supplies are fit for human consumption and domestic purposes such as cooking and washing. If you are concerned about a private water supply or would like more advice then contact us.

Risk assessments

Under the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2018 the local authority must carry out a risk assessment of all large and/or commercial supplies at least once every five years. This is an assessment of the source, water treatment and distribution system which to identify potential sources of contamination of the water supply. This means issues can be addressed to greatly reduce water contamination risks to the end user. Risk assessment is not required for single dwellings under the regulations, but, it can be requested by the owner.


The local authority has a duty to monitor private water supplies within is area. The sampling frequency and type is dependent on the size and nature of the supply. Large commercial supplies may be sampled several times a year, while small domestic supplies only sampled once every five years. Samples from single dwelling supplies are not routinely carried out, but can be requested by the owner.


The local authority is permitted to recover its costs. It does not make a profit on its sampling. The council employs the services of an independent sampler who uses suitably accredited (UKAS ISO/IEC 17024) sampling methodology and labs. All fees stated are estimates only, and are subject to review and variation without notice. VAT is not applicable to this service.

Activity Estimated cost Comments
Risk assessment £100-£200 Dependent on complexity and size of supply. Sampling (as per below) is usually carried out at the time of the Risk Assessment, and appropriate costs added to the overall fee.
Investigation £100 upwards Carried out in the event of significant test failure, where further work is needed to identify problem and advise on remedial action
Under Reg 10 (small domestic supplies) £50 Sampling and Analysis costs. Very limited parameters. Small domestic supplies. Only required once every 5 years, and taken during visit for Risk Assessment. If samples are not taken at same time as Risk Assessment there will be additional sampling costs.
Group A monitoring (commercial supplies) £145 Sampling and Analysis costs. Limited parameters. Commercial and some domestic supplies.
Group B monitoring (commercial supplies) £405 Sampling and Analysis costs. Commercial and larger domestic supplies. Additional parameters sampled less often to ensure the water complies with all safety standards. Highly dependent on parameters required.
Administrative costs £45 Added to all sampling fees (per visit). Administrative costs incurred in recording, assessing and reporting sample results and providing advice for improvements.