Noxious Odours

What is an Odour?

Odour is the smell that we are able to detect from substances, usually carried by air into our nose. The degree to which people are affected will depend on the sensitivity of their sense of smell and their tolerance of the odour in question. Odours arise from a wide range of sources e.g. accumulations of waste, decomposing animals, bonfires, cooking, etc. The main concern with odour is its ability to cause a response in individuals that is considered to be objectionable or offensive.

What is involved in an Odour Complaint Investigation?

If you make a complaint to the Council, Police or Housing Association about a smell, to assist with the investigation, you may be asked to keep a record of what you smell, for how long and when the odour affects you. The Council / Housing Association will try to find the cause and examine what, if anything, can be done.

Due to society changes, it is recognised that the use of recreational and illicit substances is extensive. The local authority and partners will not be able to address every complaint made to them. They will only be able to consider an investigation if there is evidence to support that the impact of the odour is having a significant and detrimental impact on the community, or individual, or there is a wider anti-social behaviour as a result of the use of substances. 

Any report will need to meet the standard required to show it is something which is so offensive and so prolonged that it significantly interferes with the enjoyment of an affected property, or is having a significant and detrimental effect on a person or household.

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

The following relevant factors are taken into consideration during an investigation:

  • Offensiveness of the odour
  • Intensity of the odour
  • Duration of exposure to the odour
  • Frequency of the odour exposure
  • Tolerance and expectation of the exposed subjects

If a resident makes a complaint, the Council / Housing Association will endeavour to ensure the complainants’ details remain confidential, but this cannot always be guaranteed. The council may not always be able to cease the behaviour. 

Any person making a complaint of a noxious odour, will be expected to provide written evidence, as well as supporting investigations. This may also include providing written statements, and if action progresses to court, then to be prepared to be a witness to the impact of the odour.

For further information or to make a report to us, please call on 01529 414155

Or alternatively, you can report anti-social behaviour to us online.