Over recent years, the number of nuisances complaints to Local Authorities by members of the public caused by smells has increased. Anything with a strong smell that lasts a long while can cause discomfort and may be considered a nuisance. It doesn't have to be a "bad" smell - a normally "pleasant" odour may become unacceptable if the duration or frequency of exposure increases.


For a statutory nuisance to occur "a nuisance has to interfere materially with the well being of the residents, that is affect their well being, even though it may not be prejudicial to health."

The following will be considered by the Council when investigating an alleged statutory odour nuisance:

  • the nature of the smell;
  • the duration and frequency of the occurrences;
  • the effects on residents; and
  • the available remedies.

All suspected statutory nuisance scenarios from commercial premises would be investigated by at least three random visits by a member of staff from Environmental Health to identify the source of the odour and witness the extent of the emission.

It is not possible to completely remove all smells - those emanating from restaurants for example - but through best practice, emissions may be reduced.

Commercial kitchen extraction systems

The guidance on the control of smells and noise from commercial kitchen exhaust systems explains what should be submitted to the planning department when applying to change the extraction system in a commercial kitchen.