Odour Assessments

What is an Odour Assessment?

An odour assessment evaluates an odour, or potential odour, to ascertain its impact, or potential impact, on the local area. The significance of an odour is characterised according to its frequency (F), intensity (I), duration (D), offensiveness (O) and location of impact (L), collectively known as FIDOL factors. Odour assessments are required to protect sensitive uses, such as residential dwellings, from smells which might cause a significant loss of amenity.

Greenavon provides a comprehensive suite of services relating to odour assessment, including for both planning and environmental permitting purposes. Odour assessments are complex and somewhat subjective and as such, we routinely consult with local authorities and utility companies, where appropriate, to agree the approach. Our odour assessments services include the provision of:

  • Sniff tests (also known as odour surveys);
  • Odour dispersion modelling assessments;
  • Olfactometric sampling (in conjunction with a UKAS accredited lab);
  • Odour management plans;
  • Complaints analysis;
  • Odour risk assessments, including kitchen odour risk assessments;
  • SCAIL agriculture assessments; and
  • Odour assessment reviews.

All our assessments are undertaken in line with best practice guidance from the IAQM, the Environment Agency and other relevant bodies.

Why are odour assessments required?

Odour in the UK is regulated by three principal frameworks: the Environmental Permitting Regulations; National and Local Planning Policy; and the Nuisance Provisions of the 1990 Environment Act.

Major sources of odour including wastewater treatment works, intensive poultry farms, abattoirs, waste management and incineration facilities are often required to manage and control odours as part of a conditions relating to their Environmental Permit. Emissions from these industrial sources are tightly regulated, often requiring Best Available Techniques (BAT) to minimise odour. Our team can help with applications for Environmental Permits and provide advice on how to control odours through odour management plans.

Odour is a material consideration in many planning applications.  New sources of odour must demonstrate that they include sufficient mitigation to prevent significant impacts. For example, we have a wealth of experience of recommending appropriate odour mitigation for commercial kitchens in line with guidance from EMAQ+/Defra’s Guidance on the Control of Odour and Noise from Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Systems.  

New developments proposed in the vicinity of existing odour sources must ensure that as ‘the agent of change’ that they are not significantly impacted by the source.  Where this cannot be demonstrated, planning permission may be refused. Greenavon can help you get planning permission for your proposal and aide in the design by determining how close to a source of odour such as an abattoir or sewage treatment works you can build.

Odours from businesses and other premises, not controlled by the Environmental Permitting Regulations, are controlled by the Nuisance Provisions. To be classified as a statutory nuisance an odour must “unreasonably and substantially interfere” with the enjoyment of your property or premise.  Local authorities are required to assess whether an odour constitutes an actionable nuisance, and we recommend you first deal directly with them. However, in the event you are not satisfied with their conclusions, we can undertake an odour survey to ascertain whether the effect on your property is substantial and unreasonable.

A large wastewater treatment works on a misty day. There is an urban area to the right of the image.
Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Pexels.com

How are odour assessments undertaken?

The assessment of odour is complex and Institute of Air Quality Management and EA guidance recommends that numerous odour assessment tools, including observational and predictive tools, should be used in conjunction to develop a “weight of evidence” to support any conclusions. The common assessment tools, as well as their relative strength and weaknesses are summarised below.

Sniff Test / Odour SurveyAn assessor with a calibrated nose judges the frequency, intensity and duration of odours.Provides ‘real’ observational ground based measurements of odourIt is not feasible to undertake measurements under all environmental conditions and as such, sniff tests only provide a snapshot of the odour climate.
Dispersion ModellingDispersion models, such as CERC’s ADMS-6, can be used to provide an ‘odour contour’ delineating an area of unacceptable and acceptable impacts.The impact can be predicted under all environmental conditions, overcoming the weakness of sniff tests. The results can also be visualised in the form of odour contours which are easily interpretable.Even good dispersion models with reasonable assumptions and good input data can still have significant uncertainties. The use of dispersion models, in isolation, can create an illusory sense of certainty in the model results.
Desk based study, odour risk assessmentUsing the source, pathway, receptor conceptual model, qualitative judgements can be made about the risk of odour effects at a particular location.These assessments are risk based and can be undertaken at low-cost, without a site visit.These risk assessments are prescriptive and ignore the complexities of how odours are experienced. They are only recommended for low-risk sites.
Complaints analysisLocal authority and utility company complaint data can be requested via Freedom of information requests.Is another source of ground-based data, providing ‘real’ community-based observations of odourFor there to be complaints at a particular location, there must be receptors which are regularly exposed to odour. As such, for the assessment of undeveloped sites, complaints analysis has limited value.

How Greenavon can help?

Greenavon has significant expertise in carrying out odour assessment to meet the requirements of local authorities and utility companies, for planning applications. For a free consultation, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Where We Work?

North Yorkshire Odour Assessments │ Lincolnshire Odour Assessments │ Cumbria Odour Assessments │ Devon Odour Assessments │ Norfolk Odour Assessments │ Northumberland Odour Assessments │ Somerset Odour Assessments │ Suffolk Odour Assessments │ Hampshire Odour Assessments │ Kent Odour Assessments │ Essex Odour Assessments │ Cornwall Odour Assessments │ Shropshire Odour Assessments │ Wiltshire Odour Assessments │ Cambridgeshire Odour Assessments │ Gloucestershire Odour Assessments │ Lancashire Odour Assessments │ Staffordshire Odour Assessments │ County Durham Odour Assessments │ Dorset Odour Assessments │ Derbyshire Odour Assessments │ Oxfordshire Odour Assessments │ East Riding of Yorkshire Odour Assessments │ Northamptonshire Odour Assessments │ Cheshire Odour Assessments │ Herefordshire Odour Assessments │ Nottinghamshire Odour Assessments │ Leicestershire Odour Assessments │ West Yorkshire Odour Assessments │ West Sussex Odour Assessments │ Warwickshire Odour Assessments │ Buckinghamshire Odour Assessments │ East Sussex Odour Assessments │ Worcestershire Odour Assessments │ Surrey Odour Assessments │ Hertfordshire Odour Assessments │ Greater London Odour Assessments │ South Yorkshire Odour Assessments │ Greater Manchester Odour Assessments │ Berkshire Odour Assessments │ Bedfordshire Odour Assessments │ West Midlands Odour Assessments │ Merseyside Odour Assessments │ Tyne and Wear Odour Assessments │ Rutland Odour Assessments │ Isle of Wight Odour Assessments │ Bristol Odour Assessments │ City of London Odour Assessments │ Gwent Odour Assessments │ South Glamorgan Odour Assessments │ Mid Glamorgan Odour Assessments │ West Glamorgan Odour Assessments │ Dyfed Odour Assessments │ Powys Odour Assessments │ Gwynedd Odour Assessments │ Clwyd Odour Assessments │ Scotland  Odour Assessments │ Northern Ireland  Odour Assessments │

Business Hours

Greenavon can sometimes complete work outside regular hours, upon request.

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128 City Road, London, United Kingdom, EC1V 2NX

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