Local authorities receive thousands of complaints from angry residents about bad smells each year.
According to the UK Government, a bad odour is deemed a “statutory nuisance” if it interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premise, or if it injures health.
Bad smells are also the third biggest turn-off for homebuyers, behind damp and the property being in a poor state of repair.
In five years, the UK councils studied received a staggering 116,789 nuisance smell complaints – that’s one per every 500 people. Most grumbles are about their neighbours’ homes and gardens rather than restaurants, sewage, or industrial smells.
Home fragrance experts at Lifestyle Packaging asked local authorities how many nuisance smell complaints they received between 2015 and 2019.
The UK’s smelliest place, surprisingly, is the Cotswolds, spread over 450 square miles in Gloucestershire with some 80 per cent of its land located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cotswold District Council received 2,996 nuisance smell notifications in five years with 906 complaints received in 2019 alone of unbearable smells, up 308 per cent from 2015.
Most complaints related to bad smells from commercial premises, such as restaurants and pubs, as well as muck spreading.
Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire was second with 1,604 complaints over the same period, while the City of London came in third place, with 1,344 smell complaints.
Westminster (936 complaints), North West Leicestershire (also 936), Chichester (904), Ashford Kent (846), North Norfolk (794), Teignbridge (775) and Swansea (707) make up the rest of the top 10 smelliest places to live in the UK.
Meanwhile, the UK’s “best smelling” places to live with the fewest complaints are:
- London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (1 smell complaint over food preparation)
- Folkestone and Hythe District Council in Kent (2 complaints over bad agricultural odours)
- London Borough of Bromley (7 complaints, mostly about a waste recycling centre)
- London Borough of Tower Hamlets (7 complaints, mostly about air quality)
- Three Rivers in Herfordshire (8 complaints, mostly about food preparation)
Rich Quelch, of Lifestyle Packaging, commented: ” It’s really interesting to see where residents complain the most about bad smells and the range of complaints councils receive every year.
“From “children being sick on a school bus” in Norfolk, a “strong smell of cabbage” in West Dunbartonshire, to a “neighbour’s pizza oven” in Sutton, the list of unusual smell complaints is endless.
“While Brits are most likely to lodge a complaint against their neighbour, it seems they also can’t stand agricultural odours and bonfires. So, living rurally doesn’t always mean fresher air.”
You can find out more a particular area, check out the map here.