Dust and odour complaints

Dust

construction works

Dust is a very general term referring to small wind blow particles, but this information concerns with the larger particles referred to as nuisance dust. Dust can also come in the form of very fine particles (PM10) which can have heath implications. For further information on PM10 and air quality in Brighton & Hove, please visit the City Airwatch pages.

The main area of concern with respect to nuisance dust in Brighton & Hove is from construction processes, such as sand blasting and demolition works.

In most cases, potential dust problems can be avoided by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • provide and use suitably covered skips and enclosed chutes, or take other suitable measures in order to minimise dust emission to the atmosphere when materials and waste are removed from the premises. All skips used for the storage of waste should be kept covered so far as is reasonably practicable  
  • provide, fix and maintain suitable screens or awnings to screen the building and scaffold so as to effectively minimise dust and debris from falling or being blown over the boundaries
  • provide, maintain and use a supply of water and means of dispensing it, to dampen dust in order to minimise its emission from the premises
  • do not permit the sweeping of any dust or dusty material without effectively treating it with water or other substance in order to minimise its emission from the premises

With regard to the excavation and subsequent movement of material from a construction site, consider the following:

  • where possible, dampen down the area being excavated to reduce the possibility of wind blown dust
  • wash down all machinery and vehicles (including wheels) prior to leaving the site or joining a public highway, thus preventing dust being transported outside the construction area

Odours

kitchen in a restaurant

As with noise and dust nuisance, odour is dealt with under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part 3). Odour complaints can arise from a number of sources such as food odour from takeaway outlets and restaurants, through to more industrial sources, such as solvent smells from paints spraying. Odour from a domestic setting cannot be dealt with as a statutory nuisance.

Odour problems can be due to poorly maintained air handling units or inadequate ventilation and filtration and may indicate that the system in question requires service work or replacement parts. This also has health and safety implications as poorly installed/maintained units may present a fire risk.

What action can the council take on dust and odour?