an image of a fireplace

Air particulate monitoring station

The City of Armadale in collaboration with state agencies has installed an air monitoring station to monitor air particles as well as meteorological parameters such as wind, speed and direction.

Data from our air monitoring team suggests air quality across the Perth Metropolitan area may have improved as a result of COVID-19. Comparing levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) at three locations from March to July over the past five years, there was a noticeable reduction this year, which coincides with the reduction in all forms of travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access to air quality information is available from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation's Website

Dust and sand drift

Dust and sand drift is a common issue during warmer months and with stronger winds. The increase in development throughout the City has also contributed to dust issues. The City’s Environment, Animals and Nuisance Local Laws 2002 governs the practices of owners and occupiers of land, to ensure sand or dust escapes does not cause a nuisance. As this mainly occurs during development of land, developers are required to submit a Dust Management Plan to demonstrate how dust will be managed during the development.

Good dust suppression practices include:

  • limiting cleared areas by retaining vegetation on site to stabilise top soil cover
  • scheduling developments or planned works so that they can be carried out at a time of year that will reduce dust emissions and its impact
  • having appropriate physical barriers to significantly help control dust over short distances
  • watering soil piles or large cleared land areas, as an effective short term practice that can supress the soil particles ability to become airborne
  • use of hydro-mulch, which is extremely effective in suppression of materials after earthworks where no access by pedestrians or vehicles is possible.

Odours and fumes

Odours and fumes can be caused by various industrial, commercial or residential activities. Under the City’s Local Laws it is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the land or premises to prevent the escape of smoke, fumes, odours and dust. Escape of smoke, fumes, odours or dust from a property must not be of such a quantity or nature as to cause a nuisance to any person.

What is unreasonable odour?

Odours being emitted from a property may result in annoyance or nuisance to members of the public. A person’s reaction to odour is subjective. An odour may be pleasant to one person and unpleasant to someone else.

Not all odours are covered by legislation. Generally, only ‘unreasonable’ or ‘offensive’ odours are regulated. An odour is considered unreasonable as defined under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 if it unreasonably interferes with the health, welfare, convenience, comfort, or amenity of any person.

There is no reliable or accurate equipment that can measure odour or annoyance. The following factors may be used to determine the level of interference with the amenity that a person may experience:

  • frequency of odour impacts
  • intensity (or strength)
  • duration of the exposure – the time you first smelt the odour and how long it lasted for that day
  • offensiveness of the odour
  • location – where you smelt the odour (for example, at your home or business)
  • impacts on your normal activities.

Reducing odours from your property

Tips to reduce odour include:

  • keep your property tidy and don't allow vegetation or rubbish to accumulate
  • recycle organic waste and garden clippings
  • minimise rubbish by composting and mulching
  • where possible, enclose or cover compost bins or vegetation. To help reduce odours regularly turn and aerate compost
  • avoid planting near all pipes and underground amenity lines on your property
  • invest in a root barrier when planting and seek advice from a nursery regarding plants with non-invasive roots
  • consider weather conditions before starting work that will create odour. When applying fertilisers, try to avoid windy days. Also avoid wet days as run-off to storm water drains is harmful to our creeks and rivers.

Wood heaters

Well operated wood heaters can provide an efficient way to heat your home and should produce heat without smoke. However, wood heaters and open fire places that are not operated well can add to outdoor air pollution and cause problems for your neighbours.

Wood heaters are not prohibited. Even with the correct operation of a wood heater there will be some smoke that may be within acceptable levels.

Wood smoke contains many different chemicals, some of which are toxic to humans and when breathed in and can cause physical discomfort and health problems for people with respiratory illnesses, including children and the elderly.

Is your chimney operating correctly?

Correct operation

If your wood heater is operating correctly your chimney will emit little or no smoke.

Ensure the:

  • air intake is open to allow sufficient oxygen
  • firebox is stacked correctly
  • wood is dry.

Note, your chimney should smoke for no more than 5-10 minutes after lighting or refuelling.

Incorrect operation

If your chimney is smoky there is something wrong. 

Possible issues include:

  • the air intake is closed down
  • there is not enough kindling
  • the firewood is green
  • the firebox is too full
  • the wood is chemically treated or painted.

For more information on wood heaters and your health and troubleshooting chimney issues, visit the Department of Water and Environment Regulations' BurnWise website.


Burning off

Garden refuse

Burning of garden refuse in backyards to remove fuel loads and unwanted vegetation is a significant contributor to smoke haze and nuisance. Smoke and other forms of air pollution can adversely affect the health of people with respiratory conditions. Smoke also reduces amenity for other residents by soiling washing and placing soot and ash on dwellings. Additionally, burning near major roadways can cause a hazard to motorists.

Although some people associate smoke with living in rural areas, it is important that the impacts of garden refuse burning are taken into consideration before lighting up.

Do you need to burn?

Residents should consider alternative means to get rid of garden refuse other than burning. These methods may include:

Burning is prohibited at all times if the Fire Danger rating is ‘HIGH’ or above for the Fire Weather District, and also when a Total Fire Ban and/or a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban has been declared.

For more information on Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans check our website for important announcements or visit Department of Fire & Emergency Services   

Unrestricted Burning – between 1 June and 30 September each year

Garden refuse may be burnt without a permit during the unrestricted period between 1 June and 30 September each year.  The burning restrictions stated in the City of Armadale Environment, Animals and Nuisance Local Laws 2002 are to be adhered to at all times.

Restricted Burning – between 1 April and 31 May and between 1 October and 30 November each year.

For more information on restricted burning and permits visit our Fire and Emergency Management page here

Key points that should be considered before burning off


Check for mild weather conditions for the next several days at do not burn if strong winds and dry conditions are forecast. Burning is also prohibited if the Western Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued an air dispersion or haze alert.

If smoke from other fires is visible as a flat and distinct low level layer then any smoke you produce is also likely to be trapped and cause a possible nuisance.

Notify your neighbours

If you intend to burn, always give your neighbours plenty of notice.  This will give them an opportunity to manage any respiratory conditions, take washing off the line or close windows.

Be prepared to be flexible, and if a neighbour requests you move your burn to another day consider re-scheduling.

Condition of the garden refuse

Material that is green or wet will create a lot of smoke and will not burn efficiently. Only burn dry, dead material to minimise smoke.

Consider covering stockpiled material with a tarpaulin to prevent it getting wet. Piles of vegetation may appear dry on the surface but may still be wet underneath.

Size of burn

It is better to have a smaller pile and gradually add material. Be aware that adding wet or excess fuel will smother the fire and result in more smoke being generated.

Make sure you are burning manageable piles, and consider waiting a few days between burning piles to allow neighbours some respite.

Make the area safe & additional information

Make sure all piles or burns are fully extinguished, before you leave them. You must comply with the following:

  • there is to be no burning on a Sunday or Public Holiday
  • burning is not permitted on properties less than 1,200m2  
  • the smoke must not cause a nuisance to any person
  • the smoke must not create a traffic hazard

Burning of the following items are prohibited at all times

  • green or wet material
  • non timber based building materials
  • rubber or plastic, including plastic mulch, plant pots and packaging materials
  • furnishings and carpet
  • manufactured chemicals
  • petroleum or oil based products
  • paint, including any container in which paint is kept
  • food waste
  • manure and straw or
  • other offensive, noxious or toxic matter that is likely to cause a nuisance or a public health risk to any other person.

Residents should ensure correct disposal of these items. These methods may include:

For more information on household waste disposal options visit our ‘Take’ section of the website.

Penalties may apply if a person is deemed to not comply with these requirements and conditions set out in the City of Armadale Environment, Animals and Nuisance Local Laws 2002.

Lodge a formal complaint

Do you have a concern about dust, sand drift, wood smoke, odours or fumes in your neighbourhood? The City recommends you first approach the person causing the issue to explain how it is affecting you. Often they may not realise that they are disturbing other residents. 

If you wish to have your complaint formally investigated by City, please complete and return the form below.

If you have an enquiry regarding dust or sand drift, wood smoke, odours or fumes please contact us.

Page Last Reviewed 4 September 2023