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Complaining About Smell Pollution

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 15 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Smell Pollution Complaining Council

If you have a nasty niff in the neighbourhood or perhaps a nuisance neighbour causing a stench, then there are procedures in place by which you can complain.

The Personal Approach

If the bad smell is being caused by a neighbour, then in the first instance, a polite, personal approach is usually best. Unless you fear an aggressive reaction, popping round and raising the problem in a friendly manner often sorts things out. Most people have no idea that there is a problem and are totally unaware that they might be offending people. They are often happy to resolve things and might even thank you for pointing out the problem!

If you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with this approach, then make a note of the date and time of your conversation and follow it up with a more formal letter in writing – but remember to keep it polite.

If a second or third follow-up letter doesn’t provoke a solution, then give fair warning to the person or company that you will be contacting the council.

Involving The Council

Your local Council has a responsibility to investigate all complaints about odour under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If the problem is coming from an individual or household, they will visit the property and try to determine the cause of the smell. They will also speak to the householders and help them solve the issue.

If the problem is being produced by a local business or industry, then the Environmental Health team will determine whether the smell constitutes a Statutory Nuisance under the Act and whether they need to offer advice on good practise for minimising the odours or impose regulatory sanctions.

Complaining To The Council

If you have tried and failed with a personal and friendly approach to the neighbour or local business causing a problem, then your next step is to make a formal complaint to the Environmental Health Services of your local authority.

Write to the department with as much detail as possible as to the nature of the smell, the times and days it occurs and the effect it has on your life. You should also state what action you have taken so far.

An Environmental Health Officer will then be likely to ask you to keep a diary of exactly when the smell occurs, for how long it is present and perhaps the ‘strength’ or nuisance factor it causes each time. For instance if it is a beautiful sunny afternoon and you wish to be in the garden but find it uncomfortable because of the smell, then this would create more of a nuisance than if the weather were bad and you stayed indoors. All such factors are taken into consideration and help decide if the smell is to be ‘expected’ (and put up with, or if it can be classified as a statutory nuisance and action taken.

Investigation By Environmental Services

The Environmental team will visit the site causing smell pollution and if identified as a nuisance, will implement steps to reduce or solve the problem.

Part of their decision will be based upon whether the smell is deemed ‘expected’. For instance, each year, many people complain about agricultural smells and particularly odours from muck-spreading by farmers. However, while advice is given to farmers to help minimise the nuisance to the local community, it is considered that these smells are temporary and an expected by-product of living in the country.

In other cases, a foul-smelling industry, such as poultry manure farms, rendering plants or sewage works, may have a special licence or planning permission stating that the odour emitted is under Industrial Pollution Control, in which case further investigations will need to be done in conjunction with other parties. It may be just ‘bad luck’ if you live near such an outlet.

However, for any smell which is persistently causing a nuisance is not an expected outcome of a licensed industry, it is affecting the enjoyment of your property and/or can be shown to be prejudicial to health, the council has powers to take action.

Remedial Sanctions

If the Council has found the smell to be a statutory nuisance, then they have the powers to serve an Abatement Notice on the person(s) or company responsible.

Sometimes, if not already in place, the Environmental Officer can ask that Best Practicable Means are put in place, which means that if there are things that can be done to help minimise the odour, these steps are taken.

If your Council is not able to help, individuals do also have the right to take private action. They may complain directly to the Magistrates’ Court under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended.

Should you wish for more information on complaining about smell pollution, do contact your local Council who will be able to assist you and who usually have a leaflet available giving practical advice.

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Hello. I'm the premises manager of a tv company in Clapham and recently Thames Water built 4 or 5 large storm drains all along our road. One of the drains is located right outside our reception door and each week a sewage smell comes from the inspection drain cover and blows right into our building. The smell is so overwhelming I've had staff tell me they'll not come into the building as it smells worse than a sewerage farm. I've contacted the owners, Thames water, on several occasions and told them to investigate but they always call me back to say there isn't a problem. I've contacted Lambeth council but they just say it's Thames waters problem. I think what's happening is they are storing rain water and sewage in the drains until 7.30am and then releasing this for treatment as I've heard the rush of water and the smell disappears at this time. Can you offer any advice as it's been going on for years. Thank you
SeaSiderSeth - 15-Oct-18 @ 1:29 PM
Hello i have a neighbor who lives behind my daughter and me he have Hogs there and this mail is excruciating it makes you sick on the stomach and almost vomit my husband is a diabetic and both of us as disabled my daughter has a baby he's two years old he has bad allergies she can't even sit on her back porch I can't even sit on my back porch those Hogs stinks so bad too they make you vomit that smells bad in the morning and in the afternoon we don't see anything he have chickens running all around in the yard digging up the grass and flowers and the trees both yards have all the chickens in it but we don't say anything to you because it was incident in the family with him so we can't talk to him like that all over to my house my daughter house the hog smell so bad to that make us gag especially when it's hot back there and just like right now it smells so bad and we just all that stinking holes it and I will back door it be all in the front all in the back it smells so bad to the make us sick my granddaughter walk out in the morning time it stinking and she have to catch the bus in the evening time I should get off it stinking we have no protection and you know we cannot say anything because we know nothing is going to get done but this scent is awful out here they can call this the rule area but it's houses and nice houses here and they had I'm spanking Hogs we can even sit out there and barbecue on the back neither one of the porches because it is gross stinking and the Flies who is taking over it is a shame because we don't have a voice in this situation thank you but please help us
tolu - 19-Sep-18 @ 2:10 PM
Hello, we are in a new build semi detached house. We moved in at the same time as our neighbours last November. However over the last few months the smell from there place is getting worse as each day goes by (cigarettes, alcohol, stale food, vomit faeces all rolled into one smell) they have there back door open all day and it's impossible for us to have our doors and windows open without the smell coming into our property. Even with our doors shut it's managing to come in via window frames and key holes ect. We are social housing tennants the same as our neighbours, we've told tbe housing association and they said they would investigate, however to date nothing seams to have been done. Whats our options.
Ben - 8-Sep-18 @ 1:50 PM
Lou - Your Question:
What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm summer’s evening the whole village has to close all doors and windows and it has clung to my washing which will have to be done again. The stench is unbearable but as it is ‘out of office hours’ there appears to be nothing we can do.

Our Response:
Your environmental health department may have an out of hours number to call. Make a note to report it the next day. We have noticed farmers have been spreading something much more unpleasant smelling than previous years recently.
PollutionIssues - 14-Aug-18 @ 12:40 PM
There’s a house being built across the field to our house. There is a constant smell of diesel which is making me and my family feel sick. There is constant noise too.
puppy - 6-Aug-18 @ 5:03 PM
What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm summer’s evening the whole village has to close all doors and windows and it has clung to my washing which will have to be done again. The stench is unbearable but as it is ‘out of office hours’ there appears to be nothing we can do.
Lou - 1-Aug-18 @ 9:06 PM
Hi twice or thrice a weekmy neighbour do water intake in thire silver that produce horriblesmellfrom his house its horrible having to breath it in.we talk lots of time with them but they didn't solve this problem yet.plz suggest me what should i do or where I complain.
savita sharma - 27-Jul-18 @ 5:03 PM
I live next door to a unit that makes furniture, (have been here nearly 5 years) within the last year the furniture makers have also rented the unit next to them they use it as a spray booth to varnish the furniture they make, the problem is that the strong smell of varnish wafts into the garden, (which is made worse depending on which way the wind is blowing) We asked the owner about the smell but he says it is perfectly safe to breath in and the people who work for him don't even need to wear masks. The smell makes me feel a bit nauseous, is there anything I can do? I really don't want to keep smelling it every timeI walk out the door.
Jase - 18-Jul-18 @ 3:25 PM
Hi everyday when my neighbours back door or window is open I can smell cat pee from his house its horrible having to breath it in when I get back from work and this is what I breath all day I need help
Ste - 15-Jul-18 @ 8:13 PM
My next door neighbour is cooking a lot of bbqs and the wood chip he uses fills our house up with smoke. Every morning when i go downstairs I can smell the smokey smell and I have a new born baby. Please help x
Indu - 8-Jul-18 @ 6:44 AM
The building next to ours (opposite my bedroom, roughly 3 metres away from my bedroom window in a secluded area) has been demolished and is being rebuilt. In addition to the terrible noise pollution (often after authorised hours), my bedroom now fills with a very strong smell of welding. Due to the proximity of the window to the construction site the smell immediately comes through (even with a closed window- which is single glazed as most buildings in the area) and because the window is in a secluded area,it is difficult, nearly impossible, to ventilate. In addition, as temperatures are approaching 30'C this month in London, and as most historical flats in central don't have an air conditioning, it is impossible to leave the window closed which makes it even worse with the awfully strong and poisonous smell. The smell is so strong I immediately evacuate the room. The welding is irregular therefore I cannot give specific times when this will happen, however lately tends to happen several times a day.The workers are very intimidating, yell, and continue to work after hours despite complaints therefore I do not feel comfortable approaching them. Please kindly advise on what can be done.
Barbara - 6-Jul-18 @ 11:34 AM
Jenny - Your Question:
There is horrible smell coming out of my neighbour bin and they are overfilling it and I don’t think they recycle waste or separate food waste and most of their waste is on the road and on the pavement. Just called council to report problem. I want to stay annomysus as I don’t want to get it the arguments, they cannot help as they need my details.My question is if I am willing to provide the details of the problem and give my phone number why do they need to know where I stay and my name????Have already spoke to the people living there but no luck. The bin smells horrible and cannot even breath when you are walking on the pavement. Please advise.

Our Response:
This is always council policy they will not accept anonymous complaints. You can ask that they do not refer to you by name to the neighbour.
PollutionIssues - 5-Jul-18 @ 3:35 PM
There is horrible smell coming out of my neighbour bin and they are overfilling it and I don’t think they recycle waste or separate food waste and most of their waste is on the road and on the pavement. Just called council to report problem. I want to stay annomysus as I don’t want to get it the arguments, they cannot help as they need my details. My question is if I am willing to provide the details of the problem and give my phone number why do they need to know where I stay and my name???? Have already spoke to the people living there but no luck. The bin smells horrible and cannot even breath when you are walking on the pavement. Please advise.
Jenny - 2-Jul-18 @ 8:45 PM
MarieA - Your Question:
My neighbor has a horrible smell coming from her house. She has multiple animals living in and outside of her house. She also feeds stray cats on her porch. Her family never pick up their dog poop either. This foul smell that comes her house is so disgusting that I’d rather cross the street, than to walk by her house. She has family including 2 small children that live in the house hold, and they have mentioned of having a plethora of roaches in their home as well. What can I do or who do I call in order for this to be fixed?

Our Response:
The above article advises on who to contact etc.
PollutionIssues - 16-May-18 @ 2:45 PM
Rach - Your Question:
We live in privately owned flats. In January the bottom flat had a blocked toilet/leak which lead to damaged pipes (this flat has its own sewage/waste pipes). For 3 months there has been a dehumidifier going on day and night.As of this week there is a very strong sewage like smell (as well as the usual mouldy damp smell) emanating into the communal areas and sometimes it can be smelt in my property.The neighbour is not currently living at the property. I have contacted the management of the estate to contact her but they are useless and are not responding.Is there anyone else I can contact?

Our Response:
If the management company will not doing anything and you think it could be a health/sanitation issue for you, contact environmental health or your water company for advice.
PollutionIssues - 15-May-18 @ 11:55 AM
My neighbor has a horrible smell coming from her house. She has multiple animals living in and outside of her house. She also feeds stray cats on her porch. Her family never pick up their dog poop either. This foul smell that comes her house is so disgusting that I’d rather cross the street, than to walk by her house. She has family including 2 small children that live in the house hold, and they have mentioned of having a plethora of roaches in their home as well. What can I do or who do I call in order for this to be fixed?
MarieA - 15-May-18 @ 7:31 AM
We live in privately owned flats. In January the bottom flat had a blocked toilet/leak which lead to damaged pipes (this flat has its own sewage/waste pipes).For 3 months there has been a dehumidifier going on day and night. As of this week there is a very strong sewage like smell (as well as the usual mouldy damp smell) emanating into the communal areas and sometimes it can be smelt in my property. The neighbour is not currently living at the property. I have contacted the management of the estate to contact her but they are useless and are not responding. Is there anyone else I can contact?
Rach - 11-May-18 @ 1:38 PM
My neighbour has a blocked drain in their garden which has caused foul water to flood their garden, this has been going on for the last 6 months and the smell coming from their garden is disgusting! I am unable to open the windows at the rear of the house as them smell is over baring and the neighbour states the sewer has collapsed underground and he doesn't have the money to get it repaired what can I do?
Dents82 - 10-May-18 @ 8:09 PM
Strong fumes have been entering my home for 3 months on a daily basis.Found "gizmo" coming through their floor into rafters.I have pictures.Should I go to police, get a lawyer or what.The fume situation was intentional.Has ruined my life....I am a senior citizen.....I call it senior abuse.
happygal - 6-May-18 @ 3:35 AM
Amauros - Your Question:
My neighbor cooks Ham aNd Bacon during the evening time around 6:00 pm till 8-9:00pmThe smell is horrible and strong and badI can’t even open my roof windows and back garden door.Property is rented I don’t want to confront him or the landlord because I’ll end up having a fight and go into police custody.Please advise further on what action I can take.

Our Response:
Unfortunately there is very little you can do about this unless your neighbour is operating a business etc. You could try talking to your environmental health department about this to see if they can offer you any direct advice.
PollutionIssues - 25-Apr-18 @ 1:58 PM
I have these neighbors that use diffusers! It’s smells awful. I asked them to stop and spoke with housing. Housing told them to stop using it. They continue to do it. Is there a way I can get a medical note to get it stopped. I’m going nuts! Help! The smell is strong and nauseous. Makes us ill feeling. I’ve covered ever hole, I can find. The smell is unlivable! I have fibromyalgia and lupus. My mother has cancer, her white cells are low and constantly fighting respiratory infections. She's on oxygen and a Nebulizer. Also has copd. What can I do? Please help!
Jaysquare - 25-Apr-18 @ 9:24 AM
My neighbor cooks Ham aNd Bacon during the evening time around 6:00 pm till 8-9:00pm The smell is horrible and strong and bad I can’t even open my roof windows and back garden door.. Property is rented I don’t want to confront him or the landlord because I’ll end up having a fight and go into police custody. Please advise further on what action I can take.
Amauros - 23-Apr-18 @ 6:44 PM
I own single family attached. our new neighbors when cooking use strong spice that gets me sick every time they cook when I'm at home. What can we do about cutting this down been at my home over 15 years they less then a year.
maryanne - 3-Apr-18 @ 12:32 AM
I am living in supported+ housing association flat, we have a neighbour and her flat smells like a public urinal. All the time, social services are involved with her, but it's been a year and she won't let them in her home. We have to walk past her home daily sometimes several times. She is next to exit point. It stinks bad, is there any thing that can be done
Pete - 12-Mar-18 @ 9:59 AM
I went to eat at this outback steakhouse on lake mead and rainbow Blvd and it smells very bad.
Ann - 3-Feb-18 @ 9:55 PM
Paige - Your Question:
I recently visited my sister in her flat and the entire flat smelt like urine and I know its no65 as my stepbrother has seen a young male urinatine in the flat the smell is now in my sisters hallway and no matter what we do the smell doesnt go it ridiculouse as she has 2 kids under the age of 5 I dont want my nephews smelling that when they walk out of the door

Our Response:
She should make a complaint to the landlord, who could take steps to install better security and CCTV to prevent others accessing the hallway. If the problem persists it might be worth contacting environmental health.
PollutionIssues - 6-Dec-17 @ 2:10 PM
I recently visited my sister in her flat and the entire flat smelt like urine and i know its no65 as my stepbrother has seen a young male urinatine in the flat the smell is now in my sisters hallway and no matter what we do the smell doesnt go it ridiculouse as she has 2 kids under the age of 5 i dont want my nephews smelling that when they walk out of the door
Paige - 5-Dec-17 @ 7:25 PM
Zanner - Your Question:
Someone nearby to us is burning something at night and the smell is horrendous. It is very much like a chemical smell. I normally like to keep one of my bedroom windows open at night, even in winter, but recently I've been unable to do that because the smell is so bad, I cannot stand to breathe it in. In fact, it woke me up last night from a deep sleep and even after I closed my window the smell had permeated my bedroom and the rest of the house. I had to light a candle to get rid of the smell in my bedroom so I could go back to sleep. This problem has only just started within the past few weeks. We have lived in this same house for the past 4 years and I've never smelled this smell before. Since I'm unsure where it's coming from and it's very late at night, is there anything that can be done?

Our Response:
Contact your environmental health officer, they will investigate and take action if necessary.
PollutionIssues - 6-Nov-17 @ 3:38 PM
Someone nearby to us is burning something at night and the smell is horrendous.It is very much like a chemical smell.I normally like to keep one of my bedroom windows open at night, even in winter, but recently I've been unable to do that because the smell is so bad, I cannot stand to breathe it in.In fact, it woke me up last night from a deep sleep and even after I closed my window the smell had permeated my bedroom and the rest of the house.I had to light a candle to get rid of the smell in my bedroom so I could go back to sleep.This problem has only just started within the past few weeks.We have lived in this same house for the past 4 years and I've never smelled this smell before. Since I'm unsure where it's coming from and it's very late at night, is there anything that can be done?
Zanner - 6-Nov-17 @ 12:03 PM
IM - Your Question:
I rent a flat above a 1 bed apartment- the tenants constantly cook food be it 7am or midnight there is always a strong smell noticeable- I have tried everything to combat this in my flat however as we have floorboards it comes straight up- it gets into our drawers and can be smelt on our clothes and furniture. I also have reason to believe that there is multiple people living in the 1 bed which is also stressing me out. I don't know the people and am very reluctant to approach them personally for fear of retaliation. I am desperate to move out however we are here for the foreseeable

Our Response:
Speak to you landlord in the first instance. They might be able to make improvements to your property. If they are also landlord of the people in the other apartment then they may be able to speak with the other tenants.
PollutionIssues - 18-Oct-17 @ 3:45 PM
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Latest Comments
  • SeaSiderSeth
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello. I'm the premises manager of a tv company in Clapham and recently Thames Water built 4 or 5 large storm drains all…
    15 October 2018
  • tolu
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello i have a neighbor who lives behind my daughter and me he have Hogs there and this mail is excruciating it makes you…
    19 September 2018
  • Ben
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hello, we are in a new build semi detached house. We moved in at the same time as our neighbours last November. However over…
    8 September 2018
  • PollutionIssues
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Lou - Your Question:What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm…
    14 August 2018
  • puppy
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    There’s a house being built across the field to our house. There is a constant smell of diesel which is making me and my…
    6 August 2018
  • Lou
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    What can I do about local farmer spreading putrid slurry/ fertiliser over fields near me? On a warm summer’s evening the…
    1 August 2018
  • savita sharma
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hi twice or thrice a week my neighbour do water intake in thire silver that produce horrible smell from his house its…
    27 July 2018
  • Magent
    Re: All About Oil-Fired Heating
    What about the pollution from the flue .I don't mean greenhouse gases but the particulates emitted . I can't sit in my garden when…
    25 July 2018
  • Jase
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    I live next door to a unit that makes furniture, (have been here nearly 5 years) within the last year the furniture makers…
    18 July 2018
  • Ste
    Re: Complaining About Smell Pollution
    Hi everyday when my neighbours back door or window is open I can smell cat pee from his house its horrible having to breath…
    15 July 2018