Light, smoke and smell nuisances

We may be able to investigate if you’re disturbed by: 

  • artificial light 
  • smoke
  • dust and smells from commercial or industrial properties 

We can only investigate nuisances that are statutory. 

For an issue to be statutory, it must do one of the following: 

  • be unreasonable and greatly interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises 
  • injure health or be likely to injure health 

Artificial light  

Artificial light nuisance is when bright light is shone on your property affecting the enjoyment of your home. 

An example is a security light shining into a bedroom window affecting your sleep. 

Light sources we can’t investigate 

Some premises need high levels of light for safety or security reasons. 

We can’t investigate complaints where light is coming from: 

  • airports 
  • railway premises 
  • tramway premises 
  • bus stations 
  • public transport operating centres 
  • goods vehicle operating centres 
  • prisons 
  • defence premises like army bases 
  • premises occupied by visiting armed forces 
  • streetlights 

See information on GOV.UK about how councils deal with artificial light nuisance complaints (external link)

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We can investigate complaints of smoke from premises that are: 

  • residential 
  • commercial 
  • industrial 

See information on GOV.UK about how councils deal with smoke nuisance complaints (external link)


Nuisance smells can be caused by problems with: 

  • sewage handling facilities (including sewage treatment works, sewage pumping stations, sludge treatment centres, and storm water storage tanks) 
  • food processors and commercial kitchens  
  • paints and solvents from garages or workshops  
  • unplanned spills for example, from vehicle accidents 

See information on GOV.UK about how councils deal with smell complaints (external link)

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Make a complaint 

Please complete our e-form if you would like to make a complaint. 

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Page last updated:

March 24, 2022

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