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Odour Complaints

The Council receives complaints about smells from a wide variety of sources, for which there is more specific information below. The prevailing weather affects the production and dispersal of odour significantly so odours may be worse when there are still humid conditions.  An odour must be a regular occurrence, last for some time, and be severely affecting you in your property to be actionable by the Council.


If you smell gas please contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Muck/sewage sludge spreading

Every spring and autumn we get a number of complaints about the spreading of manure/sewage on farmland. This is recognized as standard agricultural practice and such a smell, though sometimes unpleasant, must be expected from time to time. The spreading of pre treated sewage sludge is perfectly lawful as the sludge is pre-treated before spreading and poses no risk to human health. We will not investigate odour complaints relating to these activities unless the smell is frequent and lasts for several days. Farmers are encouraged to use DEFRA's 'Codes of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water, Air and Soil' to minimise odour when spreading.

Hot food outlets

We receive complaints about smells from takeaways, restaurants and pubs. We try to control the possibility of odour nuisance from these premises at the planning application stage by adding conditions to any permission. This includes making sure premises have suitable extraction and filtration systems and that the fumes are discharged at a suitable height. We do, however still receive complaints about such premises and we try to solve the problem by working with the owners, either informally or through formal legal action if necessary. Owners of premises who prepare hot food are advised to contact us for specific advice on extraction and filtration systems if they are concerned about odour nuisance.

During the summer months we also receive complaints about odour from bins containing waste food. In hot weather the smell from these bins can be very unpleasant and attract flies and vermin. Owners of takeaways and restaurants are advised to take the following steps during the summer:

  • Arrange for bins to be emptied on a more regular basis
  • Bag all waste, making sure the bags are tightly tied before being placed in a bin
  • Place bin out of direct sunlight
  • Keep bin lid closed to prevent flies and animals getting in
  • Wash the inside of the bin every week with hot soapy water and/or disinfectant


Drainage maintenance is generally the responsibility of the owner of the property or Anglian Water who you should contact for advice.

Make an odour complaint online

For more advice on any of the information given below please contact Environmental Health