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Odour Nuisance

Most of us are troubled by unpleasant smells at some time. If the smell does not go on for a prolonged period or is not too unpleasant we can usually cope.

East Lindsey District Council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate and take action, where necessary, to deal with odour causing a Statutory Nuisance. A Statutory Nuisance includes "any smell arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance".

The types of problems that we are able to deal with are restricted to the following:

  • Fumes from boilers.
  • Smoke from bonfires or chimneys.
  • Accumulations of waste.
  • Odour arising from the manner in which animals are kept.
  • Filthy premises.
  • Odour from industrial, trade or business premises.

Smells originating from domestic properties, such as from cooking or smoking odours, are not in themselves covered by the Act. However, if the smell is arising from an accumulation of something like food waste or dog faeces as then that is covered.

What is Statutory Nuisance?

A Statutory Nuisance is something which is so offensive and so prolonged that it significantly interferes with the use and enjoyment of an affected property.

The presence of an odour in itself does not mean it amounts to a Statutory Nuisance. In addition smell is not something that can be measured and there is no set level where an odour becomes a nuisance. The chemicals that give rise to smell are normally at exceedingly low levels and sensitivity to smell varies considerably between individuals.

Several factors are taken into account when considering whether or not an odour constitutes a Statutory Nuisance including:

  • Severity.
  • Nature of smell.
  • Duration.
  • Frequency.
  • Time of day the odour is present.
  • Whether or not it interferes with the 'average' person's reasonable use and enjoyment of their property.

Judgement of whether or not an odour constitutes a Statutory Nuisance can take time especially if the occurrence of the smell is unpredictable and only apparent for short periods of time.

All assessments of a statutory odour nuisance carried out by East Lindsey District Council will be dealt with subjectively based on the evidence gathered during our investigation.

How East Lindsey District Council Investigate Odour Complaints.

You will be required to keep a record, over a period of time, of what you can smell, for how long and what time of day. We will then use this information to determine if there is any pattern to the problem and then seek to find the cause and resolve the issue.

If the odour is found to be giving rise to a Statutory Nuisance then an abatement notice requiring the person responsible to take remedial action may be served.

Sometimes, however, there is nothing further that can be done. You should be aware that if you live close to a sewage works, farmland on which slurry is spread, a refuse tip or certain other smelly activities you may be able to smell those activities from time to time. All the Council can do in those circumstances is require the operator to check that they are taking reasonable steps to minimise the odours.

If you would like any further information on odour nuisance or would like to report an odour nuisance please contact Environmental Health on 01507 601111 or over the website.

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