Investigation of Smell Complaints

Making a Complaint
The Environmental Protection Team can investigate complaints of smell arising from commercial and industrial premises.

Anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated.

Where the subject of your complaint is the responsibility of another agency, you will be advised accordingly.

Investigating the Complaint
In response to your complaint an Officer from the Environmental Protection Team will discuss the complaint and investigation procedure with you. An Officer will contact you within 5 working days of your complaint being received.

The investigation process will involve contacting the business or person you have complained about to make them aware of the problem. You will be asked to keep a diary of incidents of smell disturbance, including the date and time, a description of the smell, how and where the smell affected you.

Where a smell diary is provided, it must be completed and returned to the Officer before any further action is taken.
In some instances, bringing the complaint to the attention of the business or person allegedly responsible for the smell, can resolve the situation quickly. On other occasions it may be necessary for Officers to visit your home on more than one occasion to witness how you are being affected and to gather evidence. Smell diaries assist Officers in planning monitoring visits to your property.

Establishing if a smell constitutes a statutory nuisance can take time, especially if the occurrence of the smell is unpredictable and of a short duration. In practice, the smell would need to be a persistent problem that interferes substantially with a person's wellbeing, comfort or the enjoyment of their property.

Where the Council is unable to take action, for example, when the smell nuisance cannot be substantiated you will be informed and provided with advice about taking your own private action.

Your name and address will not initially be divulged to the business or person being complained about. Your details may be revealed should legal action be instigated.

Legal Action
If the Officer is satisfied that a statutory smell nuisance exists after witnessing the problem within your property, an Abatement Notice will be served on the business or person responsible.

The recipient of an Abatement Notice has 21 days to appeal the notice in the Magistrates' Court.

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