NBTA discussions with DEFRA about application of smoke control areas to boats

The NBTA has had an extensive discussion with one of the DEFRA officials responsible for drawing up guidance to local authorities on the application of smoke control areas to boats under the Environment Act 2021 (see https://www.bargee-traveller.org.uk/environment-act-application-of-smoke-control-areas-to-boats-will-not-come-into-force-until-may-2022/ ). We have been informed that it is unlikely that this power will affect boat dwellers anytime soon. The application to boats did not come into force on 1st May 2022. The key change that took place on this date is that local authorities can now issue financial penalties for smoke emissions, but this will apply to the chimneys of buildings, not boats.

From 1st May, local authorities will have the power to bring moored vessels into the scope of a smoke control area if they consider this is an issue in their area. They don’t have to do this, but if they do, they must first carry out a public consultation. This will take time to set up, and then the local authority will need to analyse the responses to the consultation before making a decision. The NBTA has provided information to assist DEFRA in drawing up guidance to local authorities, with a view to ensuring that the needs of boat dwellers are respected and included. You can read the NBTA’s submission to DEFRA here https://www.bargee-traveller.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/2022-02-22-Questions-and-Proposals-to-DEFRA-re-Environment-Act-2021.pdf