you and the law
Odorous air pollutants are often judged based on their nuisance value and the number of complaints they generate.
In only a few cases are there adverse health effects documented in measurable physiological terms. However, odours detected from biological processes may indicate contamination of the air by pathogens. Many compounds below odour detection level are now regarded as dangerous because of the results of risk assessment studies (for example, benzene).
Section 15a of the Clean Air Act 1961 makes it an offence for odours to be detectable by authorised officers outside premises scheduled under the Act. Scheduled premises are those listed in the Clean Air Act and include fuel burning equipment areas, grinding and milling works, chemical works and a variety of other industries.
Control measures are imposed, particularly when the odour is assessed to be offensive. New legislation is likely to expand the list on an integrated schedule to a new Act. Even for unscheduled premises, depending upon circumstances, intensity and type, an odour could constitute a public or private nuisance.