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Air Pollution, Noise and Odour

Almost every human activity involves emissions to air, noise and odour, and these were subject to early statutory environmental health controls. Now some processes are governed by integrated pollution prevention and control under Environmental Protection Act of 1990 through the Environment Agency and councils (who also regulate other businesses only for air pollution).

Firms now have to achieve BAT (best available technology). There are extensive guidance documents and complex appeal regimes.

All other air pollution is controlled by local authorities, who have statutory duties to inspect their district for nuisances as well as to investigate all complaints of nuisance. If (broadly speaking) they are satisfied that either there is a nuisance, or prejudice to health, or that such is likely to occur or recur, then they must serve an abatement notice. This can simply tell alleged offenders to stop the nuisance, or specify particular steps. There are defences e.g for businesses to show that what is being done is “best practical means”.

We help clients to ensure that local authorities treat their complaints seriously. Complaining of “statutory nuisance” can help, and we can explain to the local authority that their view is incorrect, or non-compliant with their statute.

We are also engaged by businesses which are on the receiving end of complaints, and we will advise them on how to comply with local authority requirements, appeal them if they are incorrect, or to show that what they are doing is in fact “best practical means”.

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