Fumes and odours

slurry spreadingIn residential areas, the common sources of odour complaints include smells from drains, dirty houses, dumped rubbish, dead animals or dog fouling. Any smells of gas should be reported immediately to National Grid Gas Emergencies on 0800 111 999.

In more rural areas, there may be odours produced by farming or agricultural activities. Many industrial processes have the potential to produce fumes and odours. It can be difficult to identify the source especially on industrial estates where similar industrial processes operate.

Some industrial sites use modern gas cleaning systems and may hold a permit to control their emissions to air. These processes should not, in normal circumstances, cause a nuisance to residents and other businesses in the area..

All complaints will be investigated and, depending on how bad the smell is and how often it affects you, we can take action to stop odours that cause a public health nuisance.

If you wish to refer a fume or odour problem to us or you need advice on any matter relating to fumes or odours, please contact us.

Slurry spreading

'Muck spreading' can become an issue when the smells associated with the practice give rise to complaints.

Farmers dispose of accumulations of farm waste as an organic fertiliser and traditionally spread it on agricultural land during the autumn and after harvest. The spreading "season" might last for up to two months. Some farmers find the need to spread at other times of the year to dispose of excess farmyard waste.

A code of practice issued by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) deals with good practice for the protection of air and gives advice to farmers on acceptable methods of spreading.

These methods include:

  • Using a splash plate spreading device, but only if the fields are away from housing
  • The use of band spreaders which discharge slurry at ground level through a set of pipes trailing behind the tractor
  • Spreading by injecting the slurry directly into grooves in the soil which are immediately closed up afterwards

 Other recommendations include:

  • Choosing suitable weather conditions before spreading
  • Checking the direction of the wind in relation to nearby houses
  • The avoidance of spreading in fields close to and upwind of houses unless the slurry is band spread, injected or treated to reduce odour
  • Avoiding spreading at weekends, bank holidays or in the evenings
  • Incorporating the slurry into the ground as soon as practicable after spreading

DEFRA states it is not possible to avoid all odours from agriculture but if our investigation into a complaint proves it to be justified, the management systems and practices at the farm will be examined and evaluated, and recommendations for improvement made. In more serious cases, formal abatement action may be taken against the farmer.

For further advice or assistance, please contact us.

Contact us

Newark and Sherwood District Council
Castle House
Great North Road
NG24 1BY


01636 650000

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    NG24 1BY

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