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When you Should Contact your Local Environmental Health Department

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Air Quality Environmental Health

If you have already read a number of articles contained on this website, you will have begun to realise that your local authority’s environmental health department covers a vast remit and they often your first port of call if you are experiencing problems with your neighbours or within the community as a whole.

It can be far quicker to obtain a resolution if you contact your environmental health department first as opposed to calling the police when dealing with many neighbourhood issues. In fact, in most instances, even if you call the police, they might refer you back to the environmental health department first. Here are the many issues that the environmental health department would deal with:

Air Quality

If your enjoyment of your own property is being affected by a Neighbour’s Bonfire or barbecue or if an industrial chimney is causing a problem.

Contaminated Land

Where you suspect that chemicals or associated materials have polluted either a water supply or have contaminated land.

Dangerous Dogs

If you have a problem with a Dangerous Or Nuisance Dog in your area or you have been attacked or been threatened by an attack from a dog. You’d also contact the department if you're concerned about persistent dog fouling outside your house or on local parks.

Food Standards

If you are concerned about the hygiene of a particular business which is manufacturing and/or selling food or drink to the public, or you have suffered a health problem as a result of eating suspected contaminated food.

Noise Levels

If you are suffering from the effects of Excessive Noise as the result of a neighbour’s party, loud music, a nearby factory or some other kind of business which is generating excessive noise or if you have an Incessantly Barking Dog in the neighbourhood.

Pest Control

If your own home or a nearby property has been plagued by pests which could be anything from a wasps’ nest to rodent control.

Flytipping

If flytipping has occurred on your street or if you suspect a neighbour to be guilty of flytipping elsewhere.

Graffiti and Flyposting

If graffiti or flyposting is happening in your area, your environmental health department will also deal with this.

Litter

If a neighbour is guilty of not disposing of their household waste correctly, or if you are experiencing a lot of litter on your property or street as the result of a business nearby.

Of course, in many of these instances, the problem can often be resolved by speaking to the relevant neighbour or nearby business first. However, if you’re unable to obtain a satisfactory resolution to a particular problem from the person(s) involved, or you don’t know who might be responsible for causing the problem, then all of the above fall under the jurisdiction of your local authority’s environmental health department. They have the powers and the weight of the law behind them to begin an investigation and to enforce a resolution, be that through the courts, if necessary.

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My neighbors have two dogs which I suspect are going to the bathroom in their basement because since they have moved in our basement smells like we have five animals in our house going to the bathroom. Somedays the smell is so bad I can smell it upstairs and if I go in the basement it gags me. Our basement is finished and I go down there a lot. I don't know what to do to stop the odor. They used to let the dogs go to the bathroom on the deck until we told them about that. I don't see or here the dogs out much. I can't take the smell. Is there anything I can do to stop the smell?
Karen - 13-Oct-18 @ 3:13 PM
On the back of my garden is a small carpark for homeowners and Tennant's to park there cars for the houses behind us, in the corner up against my fence on the other side is a tree and plenty of overgrown weeds and not forgetting a mass of brambles. I brought the house from brand new and which we have lived in for the past 9years and over the 9 years the maintenance of this area in question has never been touched. This summer with the beautiful summer we have had the brambles have been growing like no tomorrow, now my issue is I have 2 kids that play out in the garden and as me and my wife both work full time we struggle to get out and constantly cut back the brambles that are growing over and under my fence. I spent 3 months tracking down the owner and when I found out who owned this bit of land me and my wife went around and politely asked them to sort it as not only are the brambles growing over and under the fence it's now pushing against the fence and making it week, the area under the brambles is also a nice home for vermin which has been seen going in and out and twice been on my garden from under the fence. The owner of the land says she has a gardener but is not willing to sort it. I am not sure who is the next person to contact can anyone please advise? Thanks
Wellski - 5-Oct-18 @ 4:13 PM
I have a noisy neighbour that likes to bang drag furniture all day every day for the last 3 years reported it to council numerous times and nothing has been done she has a drug dealer boyfriend who brings home carpentry work and does it earlyhours the morning and her child runs round riot doesn't go to school at all and he's 5 years of age she hasn't been attending school for the last year there are numerous people going up there for drugs noisy car that drives off early hours in the morning to deliver drugs and I believe that the mother is also a prostitute
Evo - 1-Oct-18 @ 4:04 PM
My issue is with an upstairs neighbour storing work items (such as tool boxes, large tubs of paint etc) in the shared front garden, and also leaving large white goods which are never collected (the council can do this at a cost). I’m not sure who to contact about this as we would we all be equally liable for the mess even though it’s one neighbour causing it? And how do I report this?
Claire - 22-Sep-18 @ 3:43 PM
We were astonished last week to have an environmental health officer on our doorstep.Apparantly one of our neighbours reported us for " running a carpentry business " from our home .My husband had spent a couple of sessions sawing up some old boards which he had been given ,these were to make raised beds for our allotment.This was over a couple of days.Our next door neighbour who is a semi retired builder had spent a week sawing most days making a new decking area at the same time, we get on really well with them.Am.really upset about this we are pretty sure we know who has reported us but wonder if they have the wrong house! Our neighbour who spends a lot of time at the coast was away when officer called at our house,so we will speak to him on his return.The neighbour we think has reported us is also local councillor she made a great song an dance when my husband (who had written council permission) trimmed off some dead branches on trees which are protected but overhang our property ,We had an official come out and check that it was all done correctly which it was.They now watch at the window when we go out in the garden to see what we are doing.Its just awful.
Liza - 16-Sep-18 @ 4:40 PM
My next door neighbours house has been converted into 2 flats. The bottom flat is empty. The frount garden is very overgrown with brambles and weeds to the point thats all I can see from my living room window. The back garden is just as bad and has now attracted rats to it. What can I do to resolve this problem
Tutu - 12-Sep-18 @ 7:22 PM
Just looking for some advice, my neighbors garden is full of bird cages and all kinds of birds, just recently we have noticed rats running around and have now started to come into our garden. We don’t want to cause trouble with the neighbors as this has happened before and they didn’t seem happy that we’d mentioned it. Wondering what else we could do
Bex - 10-Sep-18 @ 5:26 PM
Doris - Your Question:
My neighbours garden is a mess all his grass is 3 foot high weeds, brambles, and old man's beard is killing my hedge. I have asked him do do something until I'm blue in the face. He got somebody ti tidy it up whilst he was away for a month, by the time he got home it was back to square one. We have had rats in the front yard and back garden. His house I am toldby his ex wife that you can hardly get upstairs and in rooms for books. Surely this is a fire hazard. Someone please help.

Our Response:
Please read our guide to overgrown/messy gardens which might help.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Sep-18 @ 12:02 PM
My neighbours garden is a mess all his grass is 3 foot high weeds, brambles, and old man's beard is killing my hedge. I have asked him do do something until I'm blue in the face. He got somebody ti tidy it up whilst he was away for a month, by the time he got home it was back to square one. We have had rats in the front yard and back garden. His house I am toldby his ex wife that you can hardly get upstairs and in rooms for books. Surely this is a fire hazard. Someone please help.
Doris - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:17 PM
Hello, Our bedroom facing the neighbouring building which is a businesses premise. On the ground floor of the premise is a grocery sumpermarket and on the first floor is a workshop. Recently I have noticed that they have installed a rather huge compressor which I believe is for an airconditioning system. Lately there is a humming noise coming from one of the compressors intermittently. I am not sure from which one but the humming noise has become louder even if our windows are closed. The noise now disturbs our evening and my sleep. What shall I do and who should I report this to.
Harrie - 2-Sep-18 @ 10:18 AM
My neighbours have turned a stone shed next to my oil tank into a fully fitted kitchen and placed alarge gas cannister next to my domestic oil tank. They have also ran bare copper pipework adjacent to my oil tank and through a hole in the wall directly opposite the oil tank. Calor Gas have sent advice which I have forwarded onto my local council that states it is against UK regulations and a hazard. My oil company have put in writing that due to the risk they cannot supply me with oil. I now have no heating or hot water. The local council have said it is a civil matter and for me to deal with.
Janie Deyn - 30-Aug-18 @ 4:26 PM
Hi I would love some advice. This year we have seen a massive increase in flies in the house in our village and nearby town so much so that flypapers were sold out on several occasions in our shop. I didn't think anything of this as it has been in the papers about increased flies due to the hot summer. I keep 4 bantam hens in my large garden which are free range in the back garden. I have had them for 3 summers now and flies have never been a problem. I follow advice about cleaning etc and there are no flies in the coop. However this week I have had three visits from my neighbors who wait until,my partner leaves and then banged on my door at 7:15 am and basically the husband gave me a tirade about how all the flies in his house are my chickens fault. I tried to explain that everywhere was having problems and was I to blame for the village and the towns fly problem. Then he said I was being obstructive and if I didn't do anything to solve it he would contact the environmental agency. Since then he and his wife have been round 2 more times always waiting for my partner to leave and writing me a nasty letter. I did my own research and couldn't find anything I was doing wrong but offered to put two fly deterrents up at my own cost. All this has really upset me I feel bullied. If I try to pick holes in their arguments like why haven't they complained for the past two years I just get that they have lived in their house for 27 years and they know that it is my fault. When I go to work I basically don't want to come home again
Eggsfortea - 24-Aug-18 @ 5:32 PM
I have been experiencing a difficult situation for almost 3 months. My neighbour has been spraying aerosols through my windows, door and also to point it's come through my walls,vents and cavities. I have tried asking what it is and why but was met with a very evasive and negative response(neighbours for 20 years and have never had a fall out). It has reached a point of me leaving my home. I've also had some health problems since this has started. It's a very bizarre thing and it's not a dirty home issue as my house is spotless. Really hope it gets sorted soon as it's been a nightmare
dubery - 17-Aug-18 @ 11:54 PM
Our next door neighbours throw unbagged rubbish in their bin, it constantly smells. Unfortunately they are not the kind of people you want to confront on anything! With the recent hot weather their wheelie bin is overflowing with maggots and we share the area outside our front doors. In this weather we try not to use our front door at all because of the smell and maggots. If we report it or complain they will know it is us and life will be unpleasant. Is there any deterrent that I can put around our door mat etc. to keep them firmly on their side?!!! Where do we stand on this anyway? (Will be trying ant powder as bleach and hot water don’t seem to have a great effect).Thanks.
Lindylou - 16-Aug-18 @ 10:54 PM
The end of our garden backs onto an elderly persons garden. Their bushes briars and overgrown weeds are growing across the roof of my summerhouse. There has been an ongoing problem with rats over many years because their garden is not maintained. I knocked to speak with them to see if they could arrange to get them cut back, but they did not answer. I then put a polite note in their letter box asking if they could get them trimmed. I have had a note back saying they are our briars and bushes but they are in their garden growing over the roof of a disused outhouse in their garden onto my summerhouse roof. What can I do?
Nannydebdeb - 15-Aug-18 @ 9:29 PM
Squeak - Your Question:
My neighbours who own there own property have a load of wood on there front garden which is a fire hazzard its right up againt the hedge is there anyone I can report them to to get rid of it please

Our Response:
Have you spoken to your neighbours about this? If you think it's a genuine fire hazard talk to your local council, otherwise there's not a great deal you can do about this other than follow the advice in our guide here
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Aug-18 @ 10:16 AM
My neighbours who own there own property have a load of wood on there front garden which is a fire hazzard its right up againt the hedge is there anyone i can report them to to get rid of it please
Squeak - 14-Aug-18 @ 1:46 PM
Becky1992 - Your Question:
Our neighbours are constantly making noise. They used a jet spray for 8 hrs straight cleaning their tiny driveway and then for 3 hrs the next day. Their fire pit is right by our fence and they burn rubber and treated wood which my dad said is against the law?? The chemicals the neighbour uses is horrible. I’ve had to close all my doors and windows in the heatwave because of the smell making my 97 year old grandma feel ill. The smoke goes all over our washing too when it’s out to dry. They also have BBQ’s late at night and put it near the fence our end. Their kids are very noisy, they throw toys over the fence and wind my dog up by making dog noises to set her off. The parents don’t tell them off for shouting or screaming. The kids are about 7 and 10. Yes all kids are annoying sometimes but this is everyday. Also their kids stay up late in the garden when the parents sit around the fire pit drinking wine and being loud. The kids copy the parents. I live in a respectable area and things have got worse since they moved in 3 years ago. They have NO respect for us. Our houses are detached but close together. What can I do to stop this?

Our Response:
Have your contacted environmental health as in the above article?
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:37 AM
Our neighbours are constantly making noise. They used a jet spray for 8 hrs straight cleaning their tiny driveway and then for 3 hrs the next day. Their fire pit is right by our fence and they burn rubber and treated wood which my dad said is against the law?? The chemicals the neighbour uses is horrible. I’ve had to close all my doors and windows in the heatwave because of the smell making my 97 year old grandma feel ill. The smoke goes all over our washing too when it’s out to dry. They also have BBQ’s late at night and put it near the fence our end. Their kids are very noisy, they throw toys over the fence and wind my dog up by making dog noises to set her off. The parents don’t tell them off for shouting or screaming. The kids are about 7 and 10. Yes all kids are annoying sometimes but this is everyday. Also their kids stay up late in the garden when the parents sit around the fire pit drinking wine and being loud. The kids copy the parents. I live in a respectable area and things have got worse since they moved in 3 years ago. They have NO respect for us. Our houses are detached but close together.What can I do to stop this?
Becky1992 - 11-Aug-18 @ 7:05 PM
Dash Nor Mezimi - Your Question:
Hi I have just moved in and my and we are being bitten by what we think are mosquitos and they are real bad Our next dor has a very overgrown front and back garden around 5 meters high the height of the house and we think the insects are living there I have tried to cut it and clear it for him but he told me he doesn’t want me to touch it Where can I ask for help on this issue as I don’t want to upset him either as he is old

Our Response:
There really isn't much you can do about this unless there is a health hazard (i.e. the garden is habouring vermin).See our guide Overgrown and messy gardens
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:16 AM
Hi I have just moved in and my and we are being bitten by what we think are mosquitos and they are real bad Our next dor has a very overgrown front and back garden around 5 meters high the height of the house and we think the insects are living there I have tried to cut it and clear it for him but he told me he doesn’t want me to touch it Where can I ask for help on this issue as I don’t want to upset him either as he is old
Dash Nor Mezimi - 8-Aug-18 @ 5:25 PM
I have a hedge which I keep trimmed and within my property. But when I trim it leaves fall on my neighbours garden and he gets very aggressive about this insisting I remove them. There have been issues we have asked him to resolve which he hasn't done and I wish to know if I am obliged to remove the leaves because he says so?
hedger - 6-Aug-18 @ 4:56 PM
Paddy - Your Question:
My next door neighbour is constantly throwing the contents of his bin into my garden. Unfortunately he has dementia so I would like to handle this issue delicately.

Our Response:
Does your neighbour have a support worker or family member that could have a word with him? We guess his dementia means he doesn't realise that this is not what he's supposed to do with the his rubbish.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Aug-18 @ 2:06 PM
My next door neighbour is constantly throwing the contents of his bin into my garden. Unfortunately he has dementia so I would like to handle this issue delicately.
Paddy - 4-Aug-18 @ 1:13 PM
pluckypuddin - Your Question:
We have ongoing problems with our neighbours, but found the asbu unit at the council quite unhelpful. Last year we spent several months complaining because they were using both our front and back garden to dispose of their cigarette butts. We have had no end of broken toys, keys, clothing items and rubbish thrown into the garden. I do not believe it to be the adult of the property (although at times I’m not sure) but his children have been witnessed doing it and told off for it. We have issues with them trespassing, they damaged a fence that was on their boundary wall but put the remains in our garden, when we returned them, they put them back in our garden. We have been woken by the children screaming and shouting early in the morning and when we posted a note through the door we got a snotty reply back. The landlord is near to useless - says all the right things but doesn’t follow through on what he says. The house is overcrowded (one adult and up to 5 children in a two bedroom house) not includeing the multitude of people/other children that go round and follow suit in throwing things in our garden. Most recently we went round to speak with the tenant as his children were throwing a used nappy into our garden. He apologised and told us to “throw it back”! I do not want to handle someone else’s child dirty nappy (it was not in a nappy bag) but we returned it when the garden was quiet as didn’t want the children to see it as a game.for the second time this evening it has come back over. I fail to see how people can be so oblivious to the nusciance that they are causing other people in terms of behaviour like this. I really need to know who it is I go to for support and to get this under control as we actively avoid our garden when they are out which is the majority of the time. I am if ill health and do not have the inclination or energy to keep going round asking him to control his children. I no longer enjoy my home, and when I hear them out in the garden it immediately makes me tense because I’m wondering what I’m going to have to clear up or what damage they have caused. Please help.

Our Response:
Sorry but your question is too long can you abbreviate it and re-post with a specific question if you have one. If you're simply sharing your own experiences that's fine.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Aug-18 @ 11:52 AM
ALI - Your Question:
My new neighbours haven't moved in yet and we've just noticed they have wasps coming in and out of the air brick on their back wall.this is a private property where they've bought their own house , as I don't have a contact number for them and have no idea how to inform them of the situation I was wondering if there was something I could do to get rid of the wasps myself , I would have to enter their back garden to do this , and not sure if this would be legal.or maybe call someone from outside in to deal with it. Because it's private I'm not sure if they'd have to give permission or even pay to get this dealt with themselves.

Our Response:
Are the wasps affecting you? If so, contact environmental health and ask them for advice on what you can do. Alternatively, if you're just concerned about the new neighbours when they move, the estate agent that sold the property might be willing to pass on the information for you.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Aug-18 @ 10:44 AM
We have ongoing problems with our neighbours, but found the asbu unit at the council quite unhelpful. Last year we spent several months complaining because they were using both our front and back garden to dispose of their cigarette butts. We have had no end of broken toys, keys, clothing items and rubbish thrown into the garden. I do not believe it to be the adult of the property (although at times I’m not sure) but his children have been witnessed doing it and told off for it. We have issues with them trespassing, they damaged a fence that was on their boundary wall but put the remains in our garden, when we returned them, they put them back in our garden. We have been woken by the children screaming and shouting early in the morning and when we posted a note through the door we got a snotty reply back. The landlord is near to useless - says all the right things but doesn’t follow through on what he says. The house is overcrowded (one adult and up to 5 children in a two bedroom house) not includeing the multitude of people/other children that go round and follow suit in throwing things in our garden. Most recently we went round to speak with the tenant as his children were throwing a used nappy into our garden. He apologised and told us to “throw it back”! I do not want to handle someone else’s child dirty nappy (it was not in a nappy bag) but we returned it when the garden was quiet as didn’t want the children to see it as a game....for the second time this evening it has come back over. I fail to see how people can be so oblivious to the nusciance that they are causing other people in terms of behaviour like this. I really need to know who it is I go to for support and to get this under control as we actively avoid our garden when they are out which is the majority of the time. I am if ill health and do not have the inclination or energy to keep going round asking him to control his children. I no longer enjoy my home, and when I hear them out in the garden it immediately makes me tense because I’m wondering what I’m going to have to clear up or what damage they have caused. Please help.
pluckypuddin - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:15 PM
JH - Your Question:
My neighbour has refused to build a fence on the boundary line for which he is responsible. His garden is full of weeds and they are invading our garden (brambles, bindweed and similar.) What is his legal responsibility?

Our Response:
This depends on the terms of his title deeds. A property owner is under no obligation under law to fence in their property except to keep in livestock. If the title deeds contain a condition about erecting/maintaining a fence then of course he should.
ProblemNeighbours - 31-Jul-18 @ 12:00 PM
My new neighbours haven't moved in yet and we've just noticed they have wasps coming in and out of the air brick on their back wall ....this is a private property where they've bought their own house , as I don't have a contact number for them and have no idea how to inform them of the situation I was wondering if there was something I could do to get rid of the wasps myself , I would have to enter their back garden to do this , and not sure if this would be legal...or maybe call someone from outside in to deal with it . Because it's private I'm not sure if they'd have to give permission or even pay to get this dealt with themselves.
ALI - 31-Jul-18 @ 6:56 AM
My neighbour has refused to build a fence on the boundary line for which he is responsible. His garden is full of weeds and they are invading our garden (brambles, bindweed and similar.) What is his legal responsibility?
JH - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:26 AM
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