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Complaining About Smell Pollution

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 26 Jul 2017 | 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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22 months of complains Neighbours are dirty cat people have 18 cats the smell of urine is strong in mu property i am daily sick and on medication for this. Constant headaches and coughing till im sick. Council state the smell is slight. Environmental health came out and told me the smell isnt strong enough to act. My argument is i do not have any cats in my flat so how is it fair my flat smells of stale abd fresh cat urine and the dirty uncleanliness from the flat joining Smell is coming through joining cupboard Any advice
Urine breather - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:26 PM
Having problems with smoke from the next doors neighbours house & we are now starting not to sleep in the front bedroom. We have spoken to the neighbours nicely about there smoking & it stops for a couple of days & then we start smelling it again. We have also spoken to there landlord & he seems to not have the answer to this problem as they stop for about 5 days. The last chat I had with the landlord was not good as he told me they need to open the windows when they need to smoke. I am feeling very upset as the front bedroom window is now never shut & the smell is always some where in the house.
Fordy - 10-Jul-17 @ 7:20 PM
The next door neighbours are smoking in there rented house. I have spoken to them & also the owner of the house & I was told they will open there windows & it will go away. It seems like they are smoking more as 2 places in the house smells very bad now 24/7. My son Now has a cough & I feeling really angry with living in my house. Me & wife are starting to get tight chests & live with the bedroom window constantly open. Please advise the next step as I would love to put there windows though with a brick but they have to 2 small children that cry alot.
Fordy - 9-Jul-17 @ 11:32 PM
Complainer - Your Question:
For several years I have had a Fish & Chip Odour coming into my garden. It is obnoxious & have contacted (vial phone & email) the Environmental Health (EH). They have maintained the odour must come into my house before they will take action. your site information says differently. On a few occasions it has entered the house, mostly at times when EH is closed or on one accasion where no one was available. However, since retiring I spend much more time in my garden or at least try to. I noticed your site a month or so ago but have neen abroad for several weeks. Now back home the smell in the garden is as strong as ever and are about to engage with EH again. is there any advice you can provide before I contact them.Of note, the last time I reported the problem to them was 28/9/16. Obviously I'm not in the garden regular in winter months but Can smell the odour regularly

Our Response:
Environmental health will investigate complaints whether you're experiencing them outdoors in your garden or within your home. If the odour is found to be "safe" and is not pervading your home, then the EHO might not class it as a nuisance as such. If the smell is from a local fish and chip shop and the shop's owners are complying with all relevant extraction/disposal regulations, then it's unlikely any action will be taken.
PollutionIssues - 16-Jun-17 @ 11:19 AM
For several years I have had a Fish & Chip Odour coming into my garden. It is obnoxious & have contacted (vial phone & email) the Environmental Health (EH). They have maintained the odour must come into my house before they will take action. your site information says differently. On a few occasions it has entered the house, mostly at times when EH is closed or on one accasion where no one was available. However, since retiring I spend much more time in my garden or at least try to. I noticed your site a month or so ago but have neen abroad for several weeks. Now back home the smell in the garden is as strong as ever and are about to engage with EH again.is there any advice you can provide before I contact them. Of note, the last time I reported the problem to them was 28/9/16. Obviously I'm not in the garden regular in winter months but Can smell the odour regularly
Complainer - 13-Jun-17 @ 7:11 PM
I had police involved with thinking it was someone up to no good at side of house. Were air vents are within easy access. Everytime i was suspiscious ie hearing a hiss he was in garden with water hosepipe. But when asked he'd seen no one but it was like id just caught him. I even had plain clothes watching street. Because we have been victims of crime in the past. I think it's been him all the time spraying the air-vent with butane gas. We have lived away, then returned. I've been A&E twice and vomited in past month. We had gas checked, we had minor leak. We put a new fence in which was needing doing. Started a gym as i have been really ill. Next door to them going oh they're blocking you out.? I think it must be jealousy. Or i'm being victimised again. And it is a clique. Just relaxed thinking it was just my ill health after dealing with another attached neighbour for targetted harrasment. But it was shattered because they've had barby on without any warning and my throat is burning from having the window open. They know i have a diagnosis of asthma which i got on moving hear. I never had breathing probs before that. It feels like i've eaten cough mixture that burns my oesophagus. And have pain down one side. I have fallen over. Got weakness around arms etc.
Tootie - 27-May-17 @ 11:45 PM
Our neighbours cooking is generating a horrible smell that prevents us enjoying ojr garden enjoying our home as it permates through the walls housing say nothing can be done? The smell is horrible occurs most days.
Steve - 22-May-17 @ 8:08 PM
We have tried bu they want all our details. This would mean that she will know we complained an as she and her boyfriend are aggressive they could take it out o us and as she threatened make our lives a misery. Her boyfriend has threatened both my son and husband.
newmum - 24-Apr-17 @ 5:20 PM
newmum - Your Question:
We have lived in our rented house for 13 years. In 2015 a hairsalon moved in. Our house goes besides and over the shop. The smell from chemicals coming through is awful. When she first moved in we talked to her about the smell but she denies it being from her. We have spoken to her again and again. It has gone so far that she said if we mention the smell again she will make our lives a misery. We spoke to the land lord in the summer 2016. He said he would do something but hasn't so far. We now have a newborn baby. The smell is affecting the bedrooms of two of our children. As I am writing this the smell is coming through to the wall into the dinning room. The hallway is smelly, the smell is on the stairs and the smell is very much in my son's bedroom. What can we do. Our problem is that we do not want to be told by the landlord that we need to move nor for her to make our lives even worst then they are. What can we do?? She said she contacted environmental health and they apparently told her they are not going to do anything as the smells are not toxic. But it is giving us headaches and not wanting to be in our own house. Is there a way of contacting people anonymously so she cannot take it out on us? She is a very aggressive person and so is her boyfriend. Both have hurled insults at us and our children. It is getting worst and we are at our wits end. Please what can we do?????newmum

Our Response:
Why don't you contact environmental health yourself? There may something that can make your neighbour do to ensure the smells are extracted differently from the property etc
PollutionIssues - 18-Apr-17 @ 10:52 AM
We have lived in our rented house for 13 years. In 2015 a hairsalon moved in. Our house goes besides and over the shop. The smell from chemicals coming through is awful. When she first moved in we talked to her about the smell but she denies it being from her. We have spoken to her again and again. It has gone so far that she said if we mention the smell again she will make our lives a misery. We spoke to the land lord in the summer 2016. He said he would do something but hasn't so far. We now have a newborn baby. The smell is affecting the bedrooms of two of our children. As I am writing this the smell is coming through to the wall into the dinning room. The hallway is smelly, the smell is on the stairs and the smell is very much in my son's bedroom. What can we do. Our problem is that we do not want to be told by the landlord that we need to move nor for her to make our lives even worst then they are. What can we do?? She said she contacted environmental health and they apparently told her they are not going to do anything as the smells are not toxic. But it is giving us headaches and not wanting to be in our own house. Is there a way of contacting people anonymously so she cannot take it out on us? She is a very aggressive person and so is her boyfriend. Both have hurled insults at us and our children. It is getting worst and we are at our wits end. Please what can we do????? newmum
newmum - 15-Apr-17 @ 2:58 PM
Barbs - Your Question:
We have been living out in the country in a rented property for the past 5 years and have throughly enjoyed it. Recently, one of the farmers, down the road, has opted to start breeding chickens on a mass scale for re-sale.The odour is that bad that it hurts the nostrils due to the ammonia smell wafting our way. To add insult to injury, our water has also tasted "offish" lately and we have started buying bottled water instead.Any advice on how we move forward with this is greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
Try your local environmental health office. They will certainly be able to look into the water issue to be sure that it's nothing untoward. They will also check the smells and the poultry keeping practices of the farmer to be sure they are complying with the necessary standards etc.
PollutionIssues - 6-Apr-17 @ 2:10 PM
We have been living out in the country in a rented property for the past 5 years and have throughly enjoyed it. Recently, one of the farmers, down the road, has opted to start breeding chickens on a mass scale for re-sale. The odour is that bad that it hurts the nostrils due to the ammonia smell wafting our way.To add insult to injury, our water has also tasted "offish" lately and we have started buying bottled water instead. Any advice on how we move forward with this is greatly appreciated.
Barbs - 5-Apr-17 @ 8:22 PM
Haze - Your Question:
Hi, my husband, child and I became homeless 3 years ago after job losses and pregnancy, and failing to pay our mortgage. We were placed in a 'non secure temporary accommodation' 3 bedroom terrace, which we were grateful for, but the problem we now face is that the bathroom at the end of the property has rats in the flat roof and wall cavities as we hear them and have occasional rat droppings, the smell of urine is awful especially in summer we have to keep windows open and it is now smelling out the downstairs area of our house. The landlord paid for rat poison to be put down but we had dead rats then followed by maggots and flies in the bath and windows for weeks. The council won't do anything and the landlord refuses to do anything apart from occasional rat poison what can we do?

Our Response:
Why won't the council do anything? If there's clearly a rat infestation or your property is substandard then they have a duty to investigate. Make sure you contact the Environmental Health department rather than any of the others at this stage.
PollutionIssues - 27-Mar-17 @ 12:06 PM
Hi, my husband, child and I became homeless 3 years ago after job losses and pregnancy, and failing to pay our mortgage. We were placed in a 'non secure temporary accommodation' 3 bedroom terrace, which we were grateful for, but the problem we now face is that the bathroom at the end of the property has rats in the flat roof and wall cavities as we hear them and have occasional rat droppings, the smell of urine is awful especially in summer we have to keep windows open and it is now smelling out the downstairs area of our house. The landlord paid for rat poison to be put down but we had dead rats then followed by maggots and flies in the bath and windows for weeks. The council won't do anything and the landlord refuses to do anything apart from occasional rat poison what can we do?
Haze - 25-Mar-17 @ 7:00 PM
Sassy - Your Question:
I recently moved into a house though guinness partnerships and since we moved in ive rang several times about a smell of canabiss in the property that no matter what we try it just wont go. It smells worst in my 18month olds bedroom but im also 6 months pregnant and no matter how many times I ring they dont seem to want to do anything. Im at my wits end its making me feel poorly all the time and my little boy seems to just sleep and eat all the time. Im not sure what else I can do I just want an end to the smell but they wont do anything

Our Response:
If you really feel your air is being polluted to this extent, ask your local environmental health officer to come and check it. If you're feeling poorly and your son just wants to sleep, there may be something else more sinister to be checked out.
PollutionIssues - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:40 PM
I recently moved into a house though guinness partnerships and since we moved in ive rang several times about a smell of canabiss in the property that no matter what we try it just wont go. It smells worst in my 18month olds bedroom but im also 6 months pregnant and no matter how many times i ring they dont seem to want to do anything. Im at my wits end its making me feel poorly all the time and my little boy seems to just sleep and eat all the time. Im not sure what else i can do i just want an end to the smell but they wont do anything
Sassy - 22-Mar-17 @ 9:40 PM
Please Help..advice needed Unlicensed Garage, stripping cars revving engines in a residential area for over 3 years.This issue has been present to local Council to investigate about odour under the Environmental Protection on Nov 2016. it was resolved towards the end of last year 2016 but has slowly started to creep back. It started to return at the end of January 2017 and once again is starting to occur very often and becoming a real issue due to toxic smell being produced.
MI88 - 9-Mar-17 @ 1:56 PM
Help..advice needed!! My neighbours breed snakes..(!!!!) They have a huge garage in which they keep them..I can just about cope with that..it's the shed in which they keep the stinky rats and mice which they feed the snakes with that is causing me so much distress..I can smell the stench every day from my front and back garden and it is just unbearable in the summer months..I can't leave windows open on that side of the house and sitting outside with friends is becoming a real problem. I have put up with this for over 3 years and now have had enough..I feel that this is having such a negative effect on how I can enjoy my garden and don't know how to deal with it..I don't want to fall out with the family that live there however I also don't think I can tolerate it any more..what should I do??
Wits end - 2-Mar-17 @ 9:02 PM
We have lived in our rented house for 13 years. In 2015 a hairsalon moved in. Our house goes besides and over the shop. The smell from chemicals coming through is awful. When she first moved in we talked to her about the smell but she denies it being from her. We have spoken to her again and again. It has gone so far that she said if we mention the smell again she will make our lives a misery. We spoke to the land lord in the summer 2016. He said he would do something but hasn't so far. We now have a newborn baby. The smell is affecting the bedrooms of two of our children. As I am writing this the smell is coming through to the wall into the dinning room. The hallway is smelly, the smell is on the stairs and the smell is very much in my son's bedroom. What can we do. Our problem is that we do not want to be told by the landlord that we need to move nor for her to make our lives even worst then they are. What can we do?? She said she contacted environmental health and they apparently told her they are not going to do anything as the smells are not toxic. But it is giving us headaches and not wanting to be in our own house. Is there a way of contacting people anonymously so she cannot take it out on us? She is a very aggressive person and so is her boyfriend. Both have hurled insults at us and our children.
newmum - 2-Mar-17 @ 3:24 PM
Mihai - Your Question:
Me and my wife just moved into a flat, and from my neighbours on th hallway it is a very bad smell. Every time you leave the flat or come back, the smell is stuck into your noose, even in my flat is keeping to smell. I saw the neighbour, it is an old dirty guy. I think his flat is source of infection! What should I do? I do mention my wife is pregnant and we do not need this kind of smell near us. Thank you!

Our Response:
Firstly contact your landlord. They may be able to check on the other tenant and make sure they are sticking to the terms of the tenancy agreement (cleanliness, maintenance etc). If you're concerned that it is a sanitation issue, you might want to contact your environmental health officer.
PollutionIssues - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:30 AM
Me and my wife just moved into a flat, and from my neighbours on th hallway it is a very bad smell. Every time you leave the flat or come back, the smell is stuck into your noose, even in my flat is keeping to smell. I saw the neighbour, it is an old dirty guy. I think his flat is source of infection! What should I do? I do mention my wife is pregnant and we do not need this kind of smell near us. Thank you!
Mihai - 28-Feb-17 @ 4:36 PM
I live in a first floor flat and have recently had a new neighbour move in below and my flat now stinks of cigarette smoke. As soon as I open the door I can smell it and have spent a small fortune on airfreshners but they are not remotely removing the smell. I would appreciate any advice you can give.
Luppy - 27-Feb-17 @ 6:44 PM
Hi, we live in a new build of many houses,bungalows next to field which last year the farmer grew corn then rented the field to someone I think they are pop up farms,and put cows on it and out of the whole field he put the feeders approx 9ft away from our home, the ground has turned into a bog of cow poo and urine and the smell is terrible it makes us feel sick I get headaches,we cannot sit in the garden it is really bad,we tried speaking to the person but he made it quite clear he doesn't want to know can anyone advise us please. Jimpl
Jimpl - 9-Feb-17 @ 1:52 PM
We live behind a chip shop, and the smell is getting worse....it just used to be fish an chips but now they are doing kebabs, chinese, Indian,the smell is sometimes making me sick (I can't relax in the garden because of the smell, also when they do the kebabs it sounds like mini plane taking off).....what can i do to stop this pls?
dotty - 8-Feb-17 @ 7:37 PM
Nicola - Your Question:
The house next door is rented and the new tenants whenever they cook their Indian food the smells come into my house. The smell is now seeping through my walls. I have contacted the Estate Agent, but nothing is really being done. I appreciate people should be able to live where they want and cook what they want, but a smell coming into my property and garden is an invasion to me. I have spoken to the family about this and they do open the kitchen window when cooking, but this does not help as it comes through any way it can and I am looking for any advice to try and resolve this issue? Have never heard of anything like this before, smells travelling from house to house? Any advice? Thanks

Our Response:
It sounds like inadequate building if the smell is coming through that badly. If so, your landlord should act.
PollutionIssues - 7-Feb-17 @ 1:58 PM
The house next door is rented and the new tenants whenever they cook their Indian food the smells come into my house.The smell is now seeping through my walls.I have contacted the Estate Agent, but nothing is really being done.I appreciate people should be able to live where they want and cook what they want, but a smell coming into my property and garden is an invasion to me.I have spoken to the family about this and they do open the kitchen window when cooking, but this does not help as it comes through any way it can and I am looking for any advice to try and resolve this issue?Have never heard of anything like this before, smells travelling from house to house? Any advice? Thanks
Nicola - 6-Feb-17 @ 4:06 PM
My neighbours are smoking cannabis in their house, the problem being when the do smoke it my house absolutely stinks of the stuff! My daughters bedroom being the worst. She has to light candles to get rid of the smell. They have recently had a brush with the law and drug dealers. The police know drugs are involved but have not done anything. What steps should i take next? I dont use drugs or smoke and dont see why my house should smell so potent with drugs.
Lloydy - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:23 PM
I have had a similar problem the new people cook curry very strong all the time with Alan blowing into my boiler cupboard which makes the whole kitchen smell and the bathroom I have been to the council and now have closed the case saying they don't want to appear racist as they are having lots of complaints about Polish odours Any ideas
Gaz - 3-Jan-17 @ 11:36 AM
What we often find where folk describe powerful smells or air pollution is what we call the FUMER. The "Fumer" is a powerful device, often mains powered, that vaporises at high temperatures, pure alcohol often mixed with a little fragrance like patchouli or fragrances like urinal-cake and floor cleaner or laundry cleaners and softeners. Downwind you may notice the fragrance, often smells just like very strong flowers or laundry. The fume travels a long way and can fill homes downwind from more than 100 yards.Even if you can only smell it a little bit, that’s still a lot of fumes. The fume is a spirit dissolved 100% into the air-flow and blankets those downwind.Alcohol by itself cannot easily be detected, but as we know this is used to elevate ordinary smells for example as an evaporating conduit for increasing bottled perfume strength. Complaints of strong cooking smells and vehicle exhaust are usual with a Fumer in the area. Some Fumers are of such strength they can be easily detected for over half a mile. Those living right in the path of these solvents can be totally unaware due to regularly being saturated by the airborne chemical, it dulls the normal sense of smell and taste. If you wear fragranced antiperspirant you will think you are smelling that, but it’s likely being elevated by the solvent wafting past you. Breathing on these fumes even several hundred yards away and indoors, can easily alter the sense of breath because the fume evaporates and chills in the airway to fill slightly more volume. The abrasive nature of the air can sometimes feel peppery and invokes the natural recoil when breathing causing anxiety and the feeling of mild panic. The victim suffers the feeling of a panic attack. The fumes evaporate against the warm skin such as the face and can be felt like a tiny cold breeze, usually put down to draughtiness, this evaporating chill is the same winter and summer and obviously not a draught when the game is up. The fume can be felt on the eyes causing eye rubbing and poor eye condition. The natural oils in the eyes deteriorate if the victim does not regularly leave the house. Those with day-jobs may be very much less affected than those staying at home, since their eyes don’t get too compromised. The fume can be felt evaporate off the back of hands, the victim often smells the slight fragrance and goes off to wash hands, or scratches hands or backs of legs causing an eczema-like condition. Some victims living downwind of Fumers start to wash hands frequently and show other signs of OCD. They may go hunting for smells and start washing and cleaning unnecessarily. The wafting hum of the solvent to and fro induces a limited attention span and is bad for children. The fume is heavier than air, rolls along the floor and is bad for small children playing on the floor and pets sleeping. Actually complaining of smells to the Council is a waste of time. Councils have not worked out yet how to deal
itsnotasmell - 11-Nov-16 @ 3:28 AM
Hi there, I recently moved into a flat above a "wine shop" which has also been selling fish and other very smelly products. The smell leaks into our flat and we've had to vacate the downstairs bedroom. We've had the landlady talk to the shop but they've done nothing. This is maddening and we need to let the bedroom to make up the rent! What should we do?
Broadway flat - 30-Oct-16 @ 5:55 PM
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