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Redcar & Cleveland
Borough Council

Smell Pollution

Complaints about smells can arise from a number of sources. If you live close to a restaurant, takeaway, industrial site, farmland or sewage treatment works you may be able to detect smells from activities arising from these sites from time to time.

The chemicals which give rise to smell are normally detectable at very low levels and cannot generally be measured by way of instruments. When carrying out an investigation of an odour complaint, there is a misconception that an electronic measuring device is used to determine the type of odour and its concentration. Unfortunately, this is not true. Odours are very complex and the most efficient device we have to smell an odour is our own nose. Sensitively to smell will vary considerably between individuals and any judgement of whether or not a smell constitutes a nuisance can take time as the Investigating Officer must visit to try to witness the smell.

For a business or industry to cause a statutory odour nuisance the smell would have to be so offensive and so prolonged that it significantly interferes with well being, comfort or enjoyment of property.

If the Council is satisfied that someone is causing a nuisance, a legal notice can be served on the person responsible requiring them to stop causing the nuisance.

Failure to comply with the notice is an offence for which they can be prosecuted.

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