We'll look into complaints about smells from industrial, trade and business premises that could be a statutory nuisance, covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. For the smell to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • be harmful to health

When a report is first made, we take the basic details of the problem. However, in most cases we cannot act on this information alone. We must investigate to collect evidence and build a case.

If we agree that a statutory nuisance is happening, we'll serve an abatement notice. This requires the person responsible to stop or restrict the smell.

If we serve a notice and the smell continues and is witnessed again by an officer, we may consider prosecuting the source. If this happens, the resident affected may have to give evidence in court about the smell.

Statutory nuisance laws do not apply to smells from residential properties.

Most new commercial developments in urban areas will have some associated smells that will be considered acceptable. These premises might include pubs, clubs, restaurants and takeaways.

Smells from waste water treatment works

It would usually be seen as reasonable to expect smells from waste water treatment works at times.

If you have a complaint about smells from waste water treatment works, you should contact United Utilities.

If you feel that your concern has not been dealt with by United Utilities, you can contact the Environmental Health Team. The team will independently assess reasonability and impact, considering a number of different factors.

Reporting a smell

You must only make a report if there's evidence of:

  • an unreasonable, long standing smell issue
  • a long standing, direct impact on the reasonable enjoyment of individual properties

You can contact the Environmental Health team by: