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Odours, Dust and Fumes

Environmental Health deals with complaints about odours. Our most common odour is from farming activities.

Odours can carry over a long distance and can affect many people. It is often 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, 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 should you 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 large amounts of dog mess or waste.

In most cases if you know the cause of the problem, it can 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 make a complaint to us.

You can do this on-line by completing the Make a complaint about Odour, Dust or Fumes form

If you want further advice you can contact us by using the contact customer services form

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.

Exhaust fumes

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) or you can also complete their on-line form DVSA Report a smoky bus or lorry

For advice and information about exhaust fumes from any vehicle you should contact Essex County Council Highways

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 Grid UK Emergency Service phone 0800 111 999. They can arrange for a check to be made for a gas leak. For more information please visit their website National Grid UK