This is a new service - your feedback will help us to improve it.

Offensive odours

Some smells may be horrible for some people, but acceptable for others. That's why it's important that odours, especially those that come from industrial or commercial premises, are investigated by independent experts.

Odours we can't help with

We can't help with issues like odours from:

  • drains
  • sewers
  • agricultural activities
  • food premises
  • motor vehicles on the highway

We also can't take action against premises that hold a permit under the Pollution Prevention & Control Act 1999. This is because the permit means they already have conditions in place that control what emissions or smells they produce.

Report a problem

If you have a problem with an offensive odour, you can email us. We can send out one of our officers to visit you and your property, assess the smell and take any necessary action.

There's a different way to report problems with smells coming from Highfields landfill site in Walsall Wood.

How we investigate offensive odours

We make our assessments based on 'statutory nuisance provisions.' These are set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and include things like whether the smell:

  • affects your ability to enjoy your property
  • happens repeatedly
  • occurs over a long period of time

To decide on whether the smell is bad enough for us to take action, we will consider:

  • type of odour
  • source of odour
  • wind strength and direction
  • duration of odour
  • time of day
  • how often it occurs
  • how it affects comfort or enjoyment of property

What happens if we decide it's a statutory nuisance

If we find that the smell is a statutory nuisance and is likely to keep happening, we can serve an abatement notice. This means that the person or organisation responsible for the smell has to take steps to stop it happening again.

Sometimes, we find that the industrial or commercial premises are already doing all they can to limit the nuisance. In these cases, no further improvement can be made.

We appreciate that this is frustrating for the people who reported the smell, so we do ask the person or company responsible to do what they reasonably can to minimise the smell.

What happens if the smell continues

Occasionally, the person or company responsible ignores the abatement notice, or they do not take action to limit the offensive odours they create. When this happens, we can take the person or company responsible to court.

The Magistrates' Court will then investigate the smell. If they find that further nuisance has occurred, then they may issue a fine. This can be up to £20,000 for commercial or industrial offences.