Problems with dust, odours and smoke

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Most of the complaints that we receive about dust relate to dust from construction or demolition activities.

Dust can be a nuisance as it prevents people from opening their windows or from using their gardens.

Often the simplest way of controlling dust is simply to damp it down. Often, keeping the ground damp where vehicles move around is sufficient control to make a significant difference.

In some situations, it may not be obvious where a deposit of dust has come from. In these cases, we would normally ask the person affected to help us investigate the problem by keeping a record of the dust deposits along with the wind directions each day. In this way we can often trace the source.

Dust can be a statutory nuisance. In this case we will serve an abatement notice to prevent it continuing, under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.


Finding out where a particular odour comes from can often be the most difficult aspect of solving an odour problem. As with investigations into dust, we may need the person affected to help us by logging wind direction and odour strength, over a period of time.

If the source of the odour is known, for example if it comes from a takeaway restaurant, we can advise on techniques to control it.

Please note, we cannot deal with complaints about odour from a domestic premises, for example from a neighbour's cooking.

Where odour from a commercial or industrial process is found to be causing a statutory nuisance, we will serve an abatement notice under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to prevent it from continuing.

Smoke and bonfires

Smoke can be either a statutory nuisance, for example if it is from a domestic garden bonfire, or an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993, for example if it is a fire/chimney on a commercial or industrial premises producing dark smoke.

Any burning of controlled waste (all waste other than domestic waste on the premises on which it arose), unless an exemption exists, is an offence.

Smoke from bonfires, and particularly those burning rubbish or plastics, can drift into or across other properties and can cause an unpleasant odour. This kind of smoke will also have an affect on local air quality.

To try and avoid problems with smoke, we advise that bonfires are avoided wherever possible and particularly in residential areas. Instead, waste can be recycled or removed by arrangement - further information on this is available in the Waste and recycling section.

If you must have a garden bonfire, we would advise that you speak to your neighbours first - this will give them a chance to take their washing in and close windows.

If a statutory nuisance is found to be caused by bonfires, we will serve an abatement notice on the person responsible. If the requirements of such a notice are not complied with, or if dark smoke is found to be arising from commercial or industrial premises, we would then take enforcement action in accordance with our enforcement policy.

Further information can be found in our Bonfires leaflet.

Reporting a problem with dust, odour or smoke

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Contact Details

Environmental Health,
Ipswich Borough Council,
3W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,