Smells from Commercial Kitchen Extraction Systems

Commercial Kitchen extraction ventilation systems at food premises, such as takeaways, restaurants and pubs, can be a source of odour (and noise) complaints. Problems often arise as a result of poorly designed, installed or maintained systems which may require servicing or replacement parts.

The Environmental Protection Team tries to control odours from food premises at the planning stage by requesting that specific conditions are imposed as part of the planning permission. Where a food premises is considered likely to give rise to odour nuisance a suitable commercial extraction and filtration system will be recommended along with discharge at a suitable height.

Inadequate height of the discharge stack is one of the main reasons that emissions from a commercial kitchen give rise to odour nuisance and the design of the stack is paramount to achieving good dispersion. Best practice says that in order to achieve good dispersion a commercial kitchen extraction unit should be designed as follows:
  • Stack height should be 1m above the height of the eaves of the premises.
  • Stack height should be 1m above the height of any dormer windows.
  • Discharge should be outside the wake of any nearby buildings which could cause downwash.
  • Low level discharge should be avoided.
  • Stacks should be positioned as far away as possible from residential accommodation.
  • The height of external ground should also be taken into account when houses are likely to be located on hillsides above the stack.
  • Prevailing wind direction should be taken into account when designing systems.
  • The flue terminal should ideally be positioned upright without a cap.
  • The efflux velocity should be at least 10m/s.
  • Adsorption onto activated carbon filters is recommended for fume temperatures below 40 degrees C to remove odours from the fumes.
Further information on the control of odour and noise from commercial kitchen exhaust systems can be found in the following Defra guide:

Commercial extraction and filtration systems should always be fitted by an experienced ventilation engineer.

The Environmental Protection Team will still investigate complaints of odour nuisance from premises which have been granted planning permission.

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