Skip to main content

Odour pollution

Odours can arise from industrial, commercial or agricultural processes.

We investigate complaints of alleged odour nuisance and take action where appropriate. An odour can, in certain circumstances, be a statutory nuisance. When assessing statutory nuisance, the factors that need to be considered include:

  • Severity of the odour
  • How often it occurs
  • How long it lasts and how it affects you.

If you are affected by an odour

In the first instance, you should approach the person or business causing the odour and explain the situation. If this does not bring about an improvement you may contact environmental health for advice or request that we investigate the complaint.

You will need to provide us with your name and address, details of the odour, when and how long the odour occurs and how it affects you. We may ask you to make a written record of when the problem occurs using the odour recording form.

Report an odour to us

Types of odour problems

It is not possible to completely remove all odours. However, planning conditions generally prevent odour nuisances occurring from commercial kitchens.

If you feel that an odour from a commercial kitchen is having an unreasonable effect on the enjoyment of your property, contact Environmental Health for advice.

The Council regulates certain types of businesses to keep air pollution, including odour, to a minimum by issuing environmental permits .

The Environment Agency also issues and enforces permits for larger industrial activities.

Odour complaints may result from the storing and spreading of bio-solids (sewage sludge), animal manure and slurries (muck spreading). Go to our  sewage odours page for information and guidance.

Odours from cooking at a domestic property is not covered under the statutory nuisance provisions. Odours from cigarette smoke or other tobacco products going from one property to another is also not covered under statutory nuisance provisions.  Reasonable use has to be taken into consideration, and therefore this is more of a civil matter. Complaints regarding cannabis odour or other substances can be reported however if these are illegal substances these should be reported to the Police via 101.

What happens once we have investigated?

After gathering the information, we will decide on the best way to continue the investigation.

If the investigation verified that an odour nuisance exists we will write formally to the person or business causing the nuisance or may serve an Abatement Notice requiring the odour nuisance to be stopped.

Council Strategy design

Cumberland Council

On 1 April 2023 local government in Cumbria changed, with Cumberland Council providing all your council services.  

Don't worry though, your bins will be emptied as normal, and you'll still be able to speak to the same team about any enquiries to do with things like council tax, benefits, planning or any other service.

Find out more about the changes.

Keep up to date by finding and following the new council on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Sign-up to receive updates straight to your email inbox.

Accessibility and language tool

Use the ReciteMe toolbar for accessibility and language options