In terms of environmental protection, an odour is defined as “any smell arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance”.

Typical sources of odours can include any industrial installations which have significant releases to air, eg sewerage treatment works, waste management installations and chemical or industrial installations.

Other, smaller premises may have the potential to cause odour nuisance, for instance, catering premises and particular processes, such as paint spraying and maggot breeding. Many agricultural activities are also potential sources of odour nuisance.

While odour perception is subjective, odour monitoring, and hence proof, has always been difficult due to the sensitivity of the human nose. This has made it difficult for regulators to enforce odour control, although some notable successes have set a legal precedent.

This topic covers odour sources, statutory nuisance and enforcement, odour controls, environmental permits, planning controls and odour monitoring and assessment.

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