Manchester City Council

Environmental problems Biomass boilers

Information on biomass boilers

Biomass boilers can lead to adverse impacts on air quality depending on their size, fuel characteristics and how they are operated. This is particularly important if they are located in the air quality management area. Biomass boilers are regulated in a variety of ways, see summary table of legislative regimes. The following requirements should be considered:  

  • Chimney height approval may be required from us. If regulated by the Clean Air Act, the boiler will need to be an 'exempt appliance' because Manchester is a smoke control area. We can request the measurement of dust emissions from the biomass boiler exhaust stack and require arrestment plant to be installed to control dust emissions;  
  • Environmental Permitting may be required depending on the size and fuel type of the appliance; 
  • Best practice procedures relating to plant maintenance, location, fuel storage, product and fuel standards and start up/ shut down procedures are required to minimise the potential for smoke, odour and noise nuisance;  
  • Planning applications involving biomass combustion will need to be able to demonstrate the impacts on local air quality, and propose suitable control and/ or mitigation measures where necessary;.
  • An air quality assessment may be required.

We will make a risk based assessment of the potential air quality impacts of biomass combustion appliances, based on the available information. Ultimately, we may recommend refusal of applications where there is a significant impact on air quality and or best practice standards of environmental protection are not met.

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