Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
Odour, dust or smoke from your business activities could be considered a nuisance. If you fail to deal with a nuisance problem you could face legal action and a fine. Your local council could restrict or stop your business activities. You should find ways to limit the amount of odour, dust and smoke you create to avoid causing a nuisance.
If you have a pollution prevention and control permit, waste management licence or a waste exemption, it may have conditions that control emissions, such as smoke, dust or odour. You must comply with all of the conditions in your permit, licence or exemption. If you don't comply your regulator:
can take enforcement action against you, such as issuing you with an enforcement notice or a suspension notice for breach of a condition.
See our guideline: Environmental permits and licences - an overview.
Certain odours can be considered a nuisance. To determine whether an odour is a statutory nuisance, or whether it is in breach of permit or licence conditions or your registered waste exemption, an environmental health officer from your local council, or NIEA or SEPA officer will assess:
Assess whether odours are likely to be emitted from your site and the most likely sources, and put appropriate control measures in place. Make this a part of your routine site inspections.
Control or stop the odour at its source. You should be able to demonstrate that you follow good practice in your operations and that you have used the most effective means to prevent an odour nuisance.
Do not use bonfires to burn waste - you could be committing an offence. Instead find ways to reuse, recover, recycle or correctly dispose of your waste.
If you must burn waste, follow legal requirements to avoid committing an offence. See our guideline: Burning waste - your environmental responsibilities
Keep equipment that reduces dust and smoke emissions, such as filters and cyclones, in good working order. Make sure that where dust is collected it is emptied on a frequent basis and disposed of correctly.
Make sure boilers, especially oil or solid fuel units, are operating efficiently and do not emit excessive smoke.
See our guideline: Preventing air pollution.
You can plant shrubs and trees in belts around the edge of your premises to help screen out dust and smoke pollution, but this should not be used in place of suitable process control or specialised equipment.
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