How to deal with nuisance smells

If you're experiencing a nuisance smell, try to contact the source of the problem at the earliest opportunity before reporting the issue to us.

This is often the best way to resolve a problem.

Speak or write to the source of the problem

You should first of all try speaking to the source of the problem.

You could also try writing them a letter - you can use our letter template if you're unsure what to write.

Resolving neighbour disputes

You may want to consider contacting Mediation Bucks who offer a free service to assist in resolving disputes between neighbours.

You can find further information about resolving neighbour disputes on GOV.UK, including how you can take action through the courts.

What we can and cannot deal with

You can make a complaint to us about smells from industrial, trade and business premises that could be a nuisance, such as:

  • food processors and commercial kitchens (for example, if the extraction system is poor)
  • paints and solvents from garages or workshops (for example, if vents are poorly positioned)
  • animals, livestock and poultry
  • slaughterhouses, abattoirs and animal by-product rendering plants like pet food factories
  • sewage handling facilities (including sewage treatment works, sewage pumping stations, sludge treatment centres, and storm water storage tanks)

We are not able to enforce changes to commercial premises, such as restaurants, if they’re already using best practice to reduce the smell.

Domestic smells are not normally treated as statutory nuisances, but the source of the smell may be covered by other laws or regulations.

How to report to us

Keep a nuisance diary

If the smell continues, you should keep a nuisance diary for at least 2 weeks which shows the time and duration of the smell. You'll need this if you want to make a formal report to us.

As this is a legal process, we’ll require good evidence of the smell and the effect it is having on you. Without this, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to investigate on your behalf.

How we may be able to help

Once we’ve received your completed diary sheets, we’ll review the information to see whether we can investigate further.

Investigations and any enforcement action will be considered on a case-by-case basis. As such, the investigating officer will determine the most appropriate course of action.

Report online

You can report a nuisance odour to us online.

Before you make a report, you should think about whether you would be prepared to give evidence in court. You should also be aware that any formal reports may need to be declared in the future.

Report now