Smells and odours

Smells and odours

Smells and odours can come from many sources, such as factories, takeaways or farms. 

They are often temporary, but can be a problem if they happen regularly and affect people's quality of life.

What you can do
If a smell is affecting you try talking to the person or business that is causing it. They may be able to solve the problem without the need for formal action. Find out how to solve a problem with a neighbouring business.
Reporting a smell problem

If you are still being affected by a smell from a business please report it to us. We can't help with smells coming from people’s homes (like cooking or cigarette smoke) but we may be able to help with other problems – see more below.

We need to know:

  • where the smell is coming from and who or what is causing it
  • when it happens and how long it has been going on
  • how it is affecting you - such as not being able to enjoy your garden, having to close your windows

We can't investigate anonymous complaints. We need your name and address because we will need to visit your property.

We won't share your name and address with the business that is causing the problem. But, in exceptional circumstances, your details may be quoted if your evidence is used in court.

Photos can help us with our enquiries - but don't take photos if you feel it isn't safe. 

We can only investigate smells from industrial, trade or commercial premises.

Due to the way in which the legislation is written, we cannot investigate smells that arise from waste-related activities (such as the landfill site at Duckmanton). These types of complaints should be reported to the Environment Agency.

Report a smell problem


Protecting your privacy - find out how we keep your information safe.

What we can do

We will investigate most smell problems from business premises that are causing a statutory nuisance

We can talk to the business that is causing the smell. We will find out what they are doing to control it, and explain what action they need to take. We will try and resolve the issue informally, but can take a more formal approach if necessary.

We can't always advise what health affects may be caused, but may refer the problem to the Health and Safety Executive if necessary. 

We can't investigate smells coming from people’s homes, such as cooking, cigarette smoke, or smelly bins, but we may be able to help if the smell is being caused by a build up of waste and rubbish, or from a build up of dog mess, in a nearby garden.

Notices and prosecution

If the problem doesn't improve and we find that it is causing a statutory nuisance, we will serve a legal notice on the person responsible. If they don't take the action required in the notice we could take further legal action against them.

If they rent their property, they may be breaching their tenancy agreement. We will also check if the smell problem breaches a planning application or building control notice.

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We deal with smell and odour problems under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Last updated on 19/02/2024