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Odour and other nuisances

Information on odour and other nuisances, including light nuisance and filthy and verminous properties

Odour nuisance

Odours are one of the most difficult nuisance complaints to investigate. They can travel long distances. And there are many factors (such as wind direction) that make it difficult for us to find out where they are coming from.

During Autumn time, there is muck spreading in the area. We have a large area of farming activities when the farmers spread fertilisers or soil conditioners onto the field. Farmers are encouraged to use DEFRA's Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water, Air and Soil to minimise odour when muck spreading.

We can investigate odour or smells from most sources, including agricultural activities. But we'll need to know where the smell is coming from. A mystery smell is very difficult to track down, particularly if it is intermittent.

We can't investigate odours from domestic premises such as cooking and cigarette smoking coming from within people's homes.

Light nuisance

The following types of light can, if not maintained or used appropriately, cause a statutory nuisance. They are:

  • security lights (domestic and commercial)
  • sports facilities (like floodlit football pitches)
  • decorative lighting of buildings or landscapes
  • laser shows and light art


However, there a number of premises that are exempt from the statutory nuisance provisions. These cannot be considered a nuisance. They are:

  • airports
  • harbours
  • railway premises
  • tramway premises
  • bus stations
  • public transport operating centres
  • goods vehicle operating centres
  • lighthouses
  • prisons
  • defence premises like army bases
  • premises occupied by visiting armed forces
  • street lights (any issue with these should be reported to Norfolk County Council)

Before we take action

Before we take any action, we have to be sure that the light or odour constitutes a statutory nuisance. This means that we have to prove that the light or odour is causing an unreasonable and persistent disturbance to your lifestyle or is harmful to your health.

More information on how statutory nuisances are investigated can be found here on the GOV.UK website.

Before we investigate, you should think about talking to the person responsible for the problem that is affecting you. Sometimes the person may not realise they are causing a problem. The GOV.UK website has advice on how you can resolve neighbour disputes.

Any action we take will be in line with our corporate enforcement policy.

Filthy and verminous premises

If a premises is in a condition of disrepair, or serious lack of cleanliness, we can take formal action. Please let us know about such premises.

Other nuisances

If you're experiencing any other type of nuisance and it's affecting your health, we may be able to help. Please contact us to let us know about the issue.

Report an odour, light or other nuisance

You can report a nuisance using our online report form. You can now track the progress of your report through registering for our My Account service.

Registering for an account is easy and will allow you to securely access our services 24/7.

To report an odour, light or other nuisance you'll need:

  • the perpetrator's address
  • the type and frequency of the light or other nuisance

Report an odour, light or another nuisance

Please note; we won't be able to investigate anonymous complaints.

How long will it take?

Nuisance investigations are often quite complex and the process can be lengthy. However, we'll contact you initially to discuss the issue. We aim to contact you within five days of receiving your complaint.