Vehicle Smoke

Vehicle smoke is the major source of smoke in urban areas; at times emissions from exhausts visually offend or even make us feel we are being choked.

Bath & North East Somerset Council, in cooperation with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) would like your help to secure a reduction.

When you spot a smoking lorry, bus or coach make a note of the following information needed to trace and rectify the vehicle (this does not cover cars):

  • registration number
  • operator licence number (if possible)
  • vehicle description e.g. type, colour, company name etc.
  • date, time and location

Telephone the information to DVSA on 0300 123 9000 or visit their webpage at for a report form.

The owner of the offending vehicle will be instructed to have the fault rectified and the vehicle checked at the nearest Goods Vehicle Testing Station.

DVSA do not have the authorisation to investigate any reports relating to private passenger vehicles, taxis or goods vehicles up to 3500kgs.

The DVSA can only investigate reports of smoky exhausts for HGV's and PSV's.  For all other vehicles, please enter the registration number on the DVLA website to see if the vehicle has paid tax and has an MOT.  If the vehicle is without tax or an MOT please report to the Police non-emergency telephone line 01275 818340, as they deal with reports of unroadworthy vehicles.

Important Note

Many diesel engined vehicles emit a small amount of smoke when starting from cold or when beginning to accelerate; this is perfectly normal and should not be reported. Therefore please contact the DVSA or the Council only if a vehicle continuously emits excessive smoke.  The Council does not currently have powers to enforce emissions tests on private cars, but if the problem persists with a particular vehicle, it will seek to resolve the issue informally.  The emissions testing introduced as part of the MOT requirements has dramatically reduced reports of smoky vehicles.

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