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Smells, odours and dust (air pollution)

Report air pollution, including bad smells or odours and dust pollution from construction sites.

Can I report smells, odours and dust issues?

The council has legal powers to investigate and deal with serious issues caused by air pollution, such as smells and dust.

However, we only have powers to investigate smells and dust from industrial or business premises, not domestic properties. We may, however, be able to deal with certain causes of smells and dust at domestic properties, such as  accumulations of waste or  bonfires

Read more about statutory nuisance laws on the government's Legislation website.

Report an issue with smells, odours or dust 

What happens next?

Find out  what happens if you report a pollution incident to us.

What is being done about smells from the Yorkshire Water sewage works?

When there is an odour issue we receive a large number of complaints from residents and businesses in the area. All reports received that include the complainant's name, address, date, time and the location the odour was witnessed, are logged.  During periods of high call numbers we cannot respond to every complainant individually, but we still investigate the issue.


Following a detailed study, Yorkshire Water is upgrading the Beverley sewage works (Waste Water Treatment Works), which should help manage odours from the site. It is possible that some odours may be released during this work and this may be unavoidable. If we receive reports we will investigate.

Find out more about Beverley sewage works on the Yorkshire Water website.

Hull (Saltend)

We undertake regular visits to the area, and site if necessary, throughout the summer months and complaints will be investigated.

Find out more about Saltend sewage works on the Yorkshire Water website.

Making a complaint to Yorkshire Water

In addition to making a complaint to the council, we would encourage people affected by any odours from the sewage works to also report it to Yorkshire Water. Yorkshire Water will respond to each enquiry and will visit residents affected at the time if possible and appropriate. 

Get in touch
03451 24 24 24
Yorkshire Water

How does the council control air pollution from businesses?

The council issues permits to certain types of business that might have an impact on air quality, including smells and dust. The permits contain certain conditions that the businesses have to comply with, including emission limits.

We routinely inspect industrial processes and other business premises to make sure they are complying with these conditions.  If we receive complaints about a permitted site, we will investigate to see if there has been a breach of condition.

Read more about environmental permitting.

Can the council do anything about agricultural odours?

Muck spreading (the spreading of manure on farmland) is recognised as standard agricultural practice and odour can be expected from time to time. 

Odours usually last for a short period of time and farmers are encouraged to use best practice whilst spreading muck in their fields.

The council are only likely to investigate odour complaints relating to the spreading of manure on land if the smell is particularly excessive or prolonged.

Best practice measures for minimising odours from muck spreading is included in 'Protecting our water, soil and air' guidance available on the GOV.UK website.

How can dust from building sites be reduced?

Dust nuisance can be a major issue during construction work, from activities such as excavation, demolition, burning, and vehicles using roads.

Certain measures can be used to reduce the likelihood of causing a dust nuisance, including:

  • the use of wheel wash facilities for vehicles entering and leaving the site
  • water spraying of haul roads and stockpiles
  • reducing vehicle speeds on haul roads
  • covering stockpiles if in place for a long time
  • sheeting the tops of vehicles carrying dusty materials
  • using sealed or sheeted containers/skips for waste materials
  • erecting barriers or sheeting around works
  • using enclosed chutes or conveyors to transfer materials
  • using odour and dust arrestment plant, such as masking agents, scrubbers and filters.

Advice and guidance is available to the construction industry and members of the public on the  Considerate constructors scheme website.

The council can investigate odour and dust nuisance from building sites. Conditions relating to dust control are often attached to planning permissions, particularly for large developments. 

These are enforced by the council's planning enforcement team.