The Environmental Protection Team deal with many complaints about odours arising from a variety of sources, commonly including:
Farmland Spreading, including sewage sludge, cesspool waste and poultry unit waste.
Industrial Premises. e.g. solvents from car or body repair shops.
Farms, including livestock rearing units, swill boiling etc.
Stables and Livery e.g horse manure burning.
Hot Food Takeaways / Restaurants/ Public Houses.e.g. cooking odours and bins.
Food Manufacturing Premises.
The Environmental Protection Team can enforce nuisance legislation if the odour is intrusive or excessive. However, we have to bear in mind the defence of Best Practical Means (BPM). This means if it can be shown that the odour is normal for the process and all reasonable steps are being taken to control odour, then formal action is unlikely to succeed. The simple tips below may help reduce the likelihood of causing a nuisance:
Check the weather forecast prior to spreading
Check the wind direction and try to spread only when wind is blowing away from neighbouring properties
Avoid spreading at weekends, bank holidays or evenings
Do not spread close to houses
Avoid frequent spreading in the same location
Avoid very heavy applications
Plough in immediately after or use injection to minimise odour
Cesspits and Septic tanks
Remedy defects as soon as possible, e.g. blocked soakaways/overflows
Ensure vents are appropriately located and of sufficient height
Remove waste frequently
Clean out storage sheds frequently bearing in mind the weather conditions
Where necessary increase the discharge height of any chimneys, but ensure this has no planning implications before doing so
Remove any terminal endings that slow the air flow e.g. caps and cowls
Substitute odorous products
Use activated charcoal filters to adsorb organic odours
Use water-based paints with low organic solvent content
Maintain extract equipment, e.g. spray booths, fans etc
Relocate odorous processes away from nearby domestic premises
Avoid odorous feeds.
Frequently remove waste, considering the time of day and wind direction
Keep odorous areas dry and well ventilated
Avoid the storage animal wastes near domestic premises
Avoid burning horse manure, use an alternative means of disposal
Hot food premises and food manufacturing
Increase the height and/or re-orientate the flue
Service, clean and maintain ventilation equipment
Use odour control technology, e.g. activated charcoal filters
What should you do if you are concerned?
If you have a complaint, it is best to discuss it initially with the person responsible; they may not realise they are causing a problem. Try to be reasonable, otherwise your discussions are likely to end in further argument. Explain the details of your complaint and try to agree on a reasonable solution or compromise.
We have to assess whether the odour experienced is causing a Statutory Nuisance (under the Environmental Protection Act 1990). This has to be judged on a case by case basis and essentially we consider whether the impacts are reasonable with reference to:
Unpleasantness of the odour concerned
We will follow our usual investigative procedure and and write to the person responsible to advise that there has been a complaint and that we may carry out some monitoring. This often helps but just in case we also ask the complainant to start keeping odour records. If there is a typical pattern to the odour, we may carry out planned visits to assess the odour.
The odour nuisance record sheets are very important and the Council will not take any further action unless it has received completed nuisance record sheets from you. If the records are not returned without a reasonable explanation within 28 days the complaint will be closed.