The Environmental Protection Act 1990 specifically excludes odours from domestic premises from being a nuisance so the Council cannot take action if you are affected by your neighbours cooking odours, for example.
Although we cannot take nuisance action when odours arise from domestic premises, we can deal with certain causes of odour at domestic premises, for example accumulations of domestic waste, the keeping of animals, or smoke particles from bonfires and smoke.
The Council may be able to help if you are suffering regular incidents of offensive odours from commercial or industrial premises. The exception is odour from muck spreading (see 'agricultural odours' below).
For odour from a business or industry to cause a statutory nuisance the smell would have to be so offensive and so prolonged that it significantly interferes with the well being, comfort or enjoyment of property. If the Council is satisfied that someone is causing a nuisance, a notice can be served on the person responsible requiring them to stop causing the nuisance.
Odours can arise from a number of sources such as cooking odour from take away outlets and restaurants through to more industrial sources, such as solvent smells from paint spraying.
Odour problems may be a result of poorly maintained air handling units or inadequate ventilation and filtration and may indicate that the system in question requires service work or replacement parts. This can also have health and safety implications as poorly installed/maintained units may present a fire risk.
Some industrial processes are controlled by the Pollution Prevention & Control regime and may have odour-related conditions attached to their permits.
Muck spreading (the spreading of manure on farmland) is recognised as standard agricultural practice and odour can be expected from time to time. Odours usually last for a short period of time and farmers are encouraged to use best practice whilst spreading muck in their fields.
DEFRA's 'Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water, Air and Soil' provides advice on best practice that farmers can take to minimise odours from muck spreading.
The Public Health & Regulation Team would be unlikely to investigate odour complaints relating to the spreading of manure on land unless the smell is particularly excessive or prolonged.
Certain matters, such as water pollution arising from farm wastes, are dealt with by the Environment Agency. Please see:
- Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers (the 'CoGAP') - on the GOV.UK website
If you have a complaint about odours (smells), please contact the Public Health & Regulation Team:
Need assistance? Get in touch:
Public Health & Regulation
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Page last updated: 20 May 2020