Odours, Dust and Fumes

Environmental Health deals with enquiries about odours in our District. Our most common odour is from farming activities.

Odours can be carried over long distances and can affect a large number of people. It can be difficult to find the cause.

People are also affected in different ways depending on their sensitivity to the odour, what may be a horrible smell for one person may not be for another.

Our leaflet called ‘Odours’ which is available to view or download from the Related Content section, explains the law and gives some advice about the most common causes of odours.

We can also provide advice or investigate complaints about the smell of fumes or dust.

What you should do if you are having problems with an odour, fumes or dust

By law, we are not able to deal with odours from domestic premises, unless the odour is being caused by an accumulation of something like dogs mess or waste.

In most circumstances if you know the cause of the problem, it can easily be resolved by politely telling the person about it, if they do not know it is a problem they cannot deal with it. If after a reasonable amount of time nothing has been done to solve the problem, you can register your complaint with us.

You can do this on-line by completing this form
Or if you require any further advice you may contact us by phone on 01702 318111 and ask for Environmental Health, or contact customer services

Do I have to wait for the council to investigate my complaint?

No - You can take your own private legal action. Taking your own legal action may be quicker than our investigation, but you may have to pay legal costs. Advice about taking your own action is provided in our booklet called ‘Statutory nuisance –taking your own private action’ which can be downloaded from the Related Content section..

Fumes from vehicles

You can report a bus or a lorry for having a very smoky exhaust by phoning the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) phone: 0800 030 4103, (there is no service for reporting vans or cars and so on) or you can complete an online form by following the link to their website 'Report a smoky bus or lorry' in Related Content section.

For advice and information about exhaust fumes from any vehicle you should contact the Highways Department at Essex County council their website can be found in the Related Content section.

Other fumes - could it be a gas leak?

Many residents call us to complain about fumes, and do not consider that it could be a gas leak. If you think that the smell could be gas you should call the National Gas Emergency Service by phoning 0800 111 999. They can arrange for a check to be made for a gas leak. For more information please follow the link to the National Gas Emergency website in the Related Content section.