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Complaining About Smell Pollution

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 17 Oct 2019 | 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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Ive been living in a 1st floor flat nearly 3 years now, and 2 month ago we had new tenants move in below with dogs, after 2 weeks the communal hallway was filled with a ransid smell, a week after that the same smell starts to pretrude into my flat, kitchen/bathroom and now it's making it's way around my whole flat. i literally wake up on a morning feeling sick the smell is almost a dirty stale urine smell ive complained to the council multiple times but the more i o the worse it gets is there anything i can do i have electric airfreshners all over the place but doesnt seem to help and if it does it only covers it for an hour tops tia.
dlong - 17-Oct-19 @ 7:26 PM
I live in a ground floor maisonette (rented) and have upstairs neighbours on the first floor who own their property.For the past maybe 6 months, every time they turn their electric shower on it makes a very gross smell in my flat.Kind of like a sewage sort of smell.I have spoken to him numerous times, tried to give him products to clean the plug holes in his flat and he has refused saying he already puts products down there. He is refusing to call a plumber.I have contacted my landlord and asked him to get involved.He has spoken to my neighbour who is refusing to contact a plumber.Thames Water have already been and confirmed there are no issues in the outside drains. Where do we go from here?I can't live like this any longer.Thank you for any advise you have.
Kim - 7-Oct-19 @ 3:53 PM
My Neighbor does catering every day and for his shop - which is already illegal does from his home and take to the shop and catering places - mixture order and gas, vessels sounds is too loud everyday. There is too much of noise and toxic smoke spoiling our walks and late night sleep of everyone. It is disturbing everyone around the premises and also has manhole sewage water is always been blocked every alternative days in week We have reported complained to police and he has warned the person also been taken acknowledgement about the same. Inspite there is lots of harassment and smoke noise from the sweet seller They is no actions on the cleanliness nor his attitude, he is least follow any rules or regulations of the food and anything - from water, oil, toxic smoke spoiling and age old parents effecting their health conditions also pregnant ladies are been effected. So how can we stop this illegal activities from this neighbor at late nights after 11pm until 7am - Nothing has worked with him in decent or food habits nor living habits always ready to quarrel and fight with the customers and neighborhood. From the childlabour to hygieneness its so dirty all over and selling from home. He is so happy that Government has not question or taxed him so far, always run away from his illegal activities till now. Entire neighbor is sick of his activities and having cough and losing health. Spitting gutkas and smoking bidi and throwing in our premises. These habits are so disturbing everyone in living home. Please advice and help with the permeant issues to resolve. Please suggest how can we stop this sweet seller from doing these activities
NA - 4-Sep-19 @ 12:30 PM
The farmer has dumped 8 artic lorry loads of chicken muck 40 yards from my house it is to be there for 2 months till it is spread after harvest. It’s unbearable! My house stinks inside and out even with the windows closed. My clothes and car also stinks, I think I may have to move out! Discussed with the farmer and he offered to cover it but has so far done nothing. It’s so unfair and inconsiderate.i know things smell in the countryside and can live with a day or two of muck spreading but months of this stench is too much. I’ll never get rid of this smell,What can I do?
Cooky - 23-Jul-19 @ 10:05 PM
help us please, we have lived in our house 12 years, love it have not intention to move as have just spentthousands last year doing it up. next door neighbour attached has been in house for 5 years now, for 5 years we have struggled, argued, compained about, discussed with numerous people how to resolve this major pong. the house absolutely pongs of bad bad bad cooking, old dirty cooking oil, spice/garlic/herb mixture, burnt meat and fish, it is seeping into our house, we cannot open doors or windows when she is cooking, cant go outside when she is cooking, the door is opened the windows the extractor fan on full blast. she cooks at all hours of day and night seems to always be the same smell.it makes us physically sick. i literally dont feel i could go through summer with being closed in and not being able to enjoy my garden. we have written so many letters to the landlord complaining, have tried to speak to them but just get a mouthfull of abuse.....what can we do there must be something that can help
smellynextdoor - 22-Jul-19 @ 7:54 PM
My neighbors have bad smell of pig poop in piggery. What will I do.
Ike - 8-Jun-19 @ 9:39 AM
Hi, I have ongoing issues with my neighbours as I have MCS and am very sensitive to toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances. I cant go out my back garden when my neighbour's washing is out, which is everyday except when it rains. I cant go out my front door because my neighbour upstairs has decided to 'bully' me by spraying a very toxic air freshener or cleaner into the hallway - I have asked politely several times if he could stop because of my disability but its just gets worse. He now deliberately spray whatever this is everywhere. He is a very aggressive, vindictive and horrible man so feel I cant ask him directly to stop. I dont know if I should complain to the council as we are both council tenants as I am afraid of the repercussions from him. Also they will say its on sale so therefore safe to use. Now I have daily migraine headaches because of the smell which gets into my flat - I have to have fans going all the time and an air purifier even though I cant afford the electricity - I feel so depressed by this and spend my days crying.If I do have to go out I have to change and wash all my clothes and have a shower after passing thru the smell in the hall....please advise thank you .
artemis - 7-Jun-19 @ 1:48 PM
Hi, I have ongoing issues with my neighbours as I have MCS and am very sensitive to toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances. I cant go out my back garden when my neighbour's washing is out, which is everyday except when it rains. I cant go out my front door because my neighbour upstairs has decided to 'bully' me by spraying a very toxic air freshener or cleaner into the hallway - I have asked politely several times if he could stop because of my disability but its just gets worse. He now deliberately spray whatever this is everywhere. He is a very aggressive, vindictive and horrible man so feel I cant ask him directly to stop. I dont know if I should complain to the council as we are both council tenants as I am afraid of the repercussions from him. Also they will say its on sale so therefore safe to use. Now I have daily migraine headaches because of the smell which gets into my flat - I have to have fans going all the time and an air purifier even though I cant afford the electricity - I feel so depressed by this and spend my days crying.If I do have to go out I have to change and wash all my clothes and have a shower after passing thru the smell in the hall....please advise thank you .
artemis - 7-Jun-19 @ 1:05 PM
Hi, I have ongoing issues with my neighbours as I have MCS and am very sensitive to toxic chemicals and synthetic fragrances. I cant go out my back garden when my neighbour's washing is out, which is everyday except when it rains. I cant go out my front door because my neighbour upstairs has decided to 'bully' me by spraying a very toxic air freshener or cleaner into the hallway - I have asked politely several times if he could stop because of my disability but its just gets worse. He now deliberately spray whatever this is everywhere. He is a very aggressive, vindictive and horrible man so feel I cant ask him directly to stop. I dont know if I should complain to the council as we are both council tenants as I am afraid of the repercussions from him. Also they will say its on sale so therefore safe to use. Now I have daily migraine headaches because of the smell which gets into my flat - I have to have fans going all the time and an air purifier even though I cant afford the electricity - I feel so depressed by this and spend my days crying.If I do have to go out I have to change and wash all my clothes and have a shower after passing thru the smell in the hall....please advise thank you .
artemis - 7-Jun-19 @ 1:00 PM
Hello I have just come across this website on odour problems and would like to introduce you to our D-Noses project which may be of interest to some of you. D-Noses is a three-year EU funded research project which aims to provide a solution to the largely neglected issue of odour pollution. The project will use innovative and accessible mapping tools to record and collect odour issues and identify solutions. In effect we will be putting odour on the map! We are looking for a community in London to support in their endeavours to deal with odour pollution in their neighbourhood. If this is you then please get in touch at info@mappingforchange.org.uk. If you aren't based in London then you can still get involved and use our tools; such as the Odour Collect app which you can download for free from any app store. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. Thanks Mapping for Change team
Mapping for Change - 29-May-19 @ 12:48 PM
We live opposite a travelers sight. For a year we had sewage smells and methane gas in our close. The local council were not willing to admit there was a problem. Always fell for a story or excuse. Environmental health tested the Mso - called clean water runnung into the ditch and it is not clean. It got better for a couple of months but now it is ramping up again. We cant be in our garden or open our windows. No one seems ro care.
Nosepeg - 27-Apr-19 @ 8:42 PM
We stay in a flat in Silverton. There is a Mr Daantjie whose flat is stinking so much, that you can hardly breath upon entering in his flat. His carpets is black of all the dirt. It is the main reason of the stink. He never cleaned it for the past 10 years. There is so many cockrouches that it is crawling on the walls, roof, is in his foodstuff, clothes. He have 2x children age 12-14 years old. They are not allowed to play outside, and he kept them inside That dirty unhygienic flat. They are not allowed to play with other children who stay the same block of flats. A fumigator was arranged December 2018 to fumigate the block of flats. The fumigator told him that he Mr Daantjie can't stay in that manner. And that he must clean his place. That the fumigator was suppose to report him at the health authority. He Daantjie was warned to clean his flat properly, and that the fumigator will come back after a couple of months to inspect the flat. During February 2019 an appointment was made to come and fumigate his flat again and he was once again warned to get his flat cleaned before the follow up fumigation and inspection. Upon getting to Mr Daantjie flat, it was found that it is still in the same state as before. Mr Daantjie become rude and told the fumigator that he don't want him there anymore. A report was submitted about the state under which the flat was found and re om ended that Mr Daantjie was to be reported to the health authorities. The board of trustees can do nothing as the Agent allege that it will be an infringement of Mr Daantjie human rights. What do we do.
Mr D - 1-Apr-19 @ 2:18 PM
Excellent and thanks for your guidence Hope that I will be receiving such good materials from your end.
Satya - 31-Mar-19 @ 5:21 AM
My neighbour has 2 dogs infront close wth a plank no space to run jst bark whl day and the smell off dog poo stinks so bad i cant open my windows or eat in dinningroom we eat in our rooms at the back i ask him very nice to do something cause ramadaan is near n that smell makes me vomit bt he makes empty promise n my health n my kids are suffering i need help and a contact nr to make a complain and have health inspector come have a look pls
Miela - 26-Mar-19 @ 7:08 AM
Neighbors have a bad smell coming from there yard.It's been that way for a few weeks now.. I know they have alot of dogs as well it smells like trash and poop.. and it gets overwhelming..
Baddabing - 17-Mar-19 @ 9:09 PM
Our is doing pig farming in a township. The smell is bad when it is hot is unbearable... We are forced to keep the door clesed. The green flies are all over. We tried several times to talk to him but nothing changed. When it is raining the following day the pigs will be running at street. The ward councillor is doing nothing about it also. We need assistance
Tiego - 12-Jan-19 @ 8:08 AM
I live in a house with a neighbour who is filthy dirty. Keeps being sick in his room and Letton the smell go though the house. It is so un hygienic. There is 6 people living in the house but this neighbour don't care about the smell. It's unbearable as I don't wana leave these premises. And he has dog poo and cats poo in his room too. Need some advice
Jennie - 26-Dec-18 @ 7:28 PM
My neighbors house house stinks of stale old food. Stale rice and tomatoes and the smell is potent! Is horrible and strong and I’ve just woken up to the stench in my bedroom. I can’t escape. My son hates that nearly every time he comes home as soon as you walk though the door it stinks. Just to explain... I live in a maisonette and I’m upstairs. When I first moved in there was a lovely elderly couple that had had live downstairs. Sadly they passed away. And the smells have started since week one. I just don’t think they understand the concept of windows when cooking!! It’s soooo bad. And also all over the house. They’re not very friendly either. Very arrogant and justified. What can I do. Please
Rian - 22-Dec-18 @ 9:07 AM
I ordered the laminate flooring from UK Flooring Direct Limited online and fitted in March 2018.After that i noticed very bad pungent smell in my room and contacted the customer service,they replied their product never had this problem before and they refused to do anything about it. then I have no idea where to go for next step and i believe the pungent smell will be vanished after couple or three months but after 8 month till now the pungent smell is still there even i keep my window and doors opening most time of a day.That pungent smell make my nose and throat feeling very bad and causing some phlegm as well if i stay living room for over one hour.i really don't know where could i make complain and can't imagine how many families bought this bad quality product probably causing big damage to their health.That's why here today i would like to share my story hoping i could get some help to stop this sort of issue products trading in the UK's market.
JAMES - 29-Nov-18 @ 11:59 PM
The person that resides in the apartment above my apartment about 2 weeks ago seems to be making something that has caused toxic chemicals to invade our environment. My wife and I can barely stay in our apartment, because of the toxics. We mentioned it to the manager and they haven’t done anything about it. The manager finally came in and nonchalantly, we must spilled over some type of chemicals or something. We stretched to her it was coming from upstairs, she said she will check on it, and went on vacation. What can we do, it’s hard to live in here?
Lenard - 24-Nov-18 @ 9:31 AM
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
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