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Dust and odour nuisance

Our environmental protection team investigate complaints regarding odour and dust. As with noise and smoke, these complaints are dealt with under section 79 and 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and are investigated to determine whether a statutory nuisance exists.

If you feel that you are being affected by dust or odour, you can email us


A statutory odour nuisance is defined by Section 79 (1)(d) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as 'any smell arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance'.

For an odour to be a nuisance the frequency, duration and strength are taken into account. There are no set levels or measuring devices to detect odour; investigations can take time. We rely on you to provide us with as much information as possible and this may involve completing record sheets (PDF) [15KB] . Keeping notes of weather conditions can also assist in officers' investigations.

Typical sources of odour complaints arise from commercial kitchens or industrial processes. If you live near a commercial premise such as a takeaway establishment you should expect some low level odour due to the nature of the food being cooked. However this may become unacceptable if a process changes or if ongoing maintenance is not carried out.

Agricultural odours can also be a source of complaint; normally this is associated with manure spreading and is an acceptable process. We will not normally investigate agricultural odour complaints unless the smell is excessive and persistent.


Dust complaints normally arise from construction sites or from industrial processes.

For some large construction projects conditions may have already been agreed with regard to dust control.

For dust to be classed as a nuisance it would have to be substantial enough to be interfering with your enjoyment of your property or prejudicial to health.