Nuisance Monks Road generator faces £20k fine

The owner of a diesel generator powering a convenience shop and flats on Monks Road, emitting plumes of smoke, faces a fine of up to £20,000.

Since March 2011, the Arboretum Corner Premier and flats above have been powered by a large generator due to the landlord not being on the electricity mains.

For a number of months the unit only used an environmentally-friendly biofuel generator which emitted neither fumes or excessive noise.

However, in more recent months the landlord changed to a generator using fossil fuel, meaning large clouds of smoke were emitted within the immediate residential area.

A number of complaints were raised by local residents, who are concerned that the smoke emitted is harmful to health and that the generator causes a lot of noise pollution.

One resident on Arboretum Avenue said: “This morning, I came down to discover large clouds of noxious smoke more than 20 houses further up the street from the shop.

“This smoke is issuing from a diesel generator supplying power to the corner-shop and adjacent residential property. Not only was this smoke flowing up Arboretum Avenue, but also along Monks Road.

“I have previously spoken to the landlord of the premises about this and he assured me it would be remedied soon.

“However, that was months ago and rather than improve, the situation has only deteriorated,” the resident explained.

“Further to the nasty air we’re all living with, several people in the houses opposite the shop have complained of the noise pollution created by the generator running through the night.”

‘A complicated case’

The generator goes against one of the City of Lincoln Council’s plan to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, as well as breaking the Environment Act 1995, which allows the authority to monitor air quality in the city.

After further examination, the council hpresented the landlord with the choice of removing the generator or risk paying a £20,000 fine.

The owner of the generator also may be dealt further fines, due to planning permission problems and previous issues regarding the wellbeing of his tenants.

Ian Wicks, Pollution Control Officer at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “This is a complicated case of nuisance, which has involved a number of departments in the City Council.

“Although generators have been used at the property since March 2011, we have been made aware most recently of a new generator that is emitting significant fumes into the local area.

“As a result, we have served the owner of the building with an Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act, requiring him to either reconnect to mains electricity or replace the generator with one that meets current emission standards.

“Whichever solution the owner chooses, there should be no visible smoke emitted and he must take this action within 21 days. If this isn’t done, we will look to prosecute, which could result in a fine of up to £20,000.

“This is a particularly difficult case, as the shop management and tenants in the flats above the shop rely on having electricity, but are not responsible for the problem.

“The building owner has previously been served with a Housing Improvement Notice by the council’s Private Housing Team, requiring him to reconnect to the mains electricity for the benefit of his tenants. However, this was delayed by an appeal made by the owner to the Energy Ombudsman.

“Now that this appeal has been resolved, we are able to prosecute, which could lead to a further fine of £5,000.

“The council’s Planning Enforcement Team is also aware of the case, because planning permission is required if a generator is to be used as a permanent energy source.

“From an environmental protection point of view, I would like to reassure residents that we are taking action against the owner of this building, and will monitor the situation carefully, taking further action if necessary.”