Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for our places and open spaces

Public Nuisance

env health

We investigate complaints regarding rubbish on private property, blocked drainage, premises that are filthy and full of vermin, odours, contaminated watercourses and other public nuisances.


We will investigate reports about smell problems. Advice on control measures will be given to the persons responsible.

If this advice is ignored and there is sufficient evidence of a nuisance, a legal notice will be served requiring abatement of the problem. If this is not complied with a prosecution may be taken.

Types of smells:

  • Electrical - Typically a fishy type smell.
  • Drains - Smell of sewerage may indicate a blockage in the drainage system or seepage from a defective drain/sewer.
  • Pests - If there are pests living or trapped in the property that die, they give off a sulphurous type smell of deterioration. This should peak after around 2-3 weeks of the smell being noticeable, and the smell will then dissipate.
  • Rotting food and waste - Smell of deterioration that will peak and will dissipate over a short period of time.
  • Lack of ventilation - Musty or damp type smell.
  • Chemicals - May be wafting from a nearby factory.
  • Gas Leaks - Call the National Grid on 0800 111 999 immediately.  For further detailed advice about gas leaks, what to do if you smell gas and how the gas emergency service works, go to the National Grid website via the link below.


Filthy and Verminous Premises

We will investigate reports of dirty or verminous premises. Advice will be given to the person(s) responsible with details of other agencies who may be able to help.

If the conditions cause a nuisance or health risk to the occupant or neighbours, and the person responsible does not take the necessary steps, a legal notice may be served requiring remedial action.

If this is not complied with a prosecution may be taken. The Council may also carry out the necessary work and recover the costs.


Refuse Accumulations

We will investigate reports of problems with refuse accumulations on private land and take steps to try to arrange clearance.

If the accumulation causes a nuisance, and the person responsible is not cooperative, a legal notice may be served requiring clearance. If this is not complied with a prosecution may be taken.

Visit the DEFRA section on GOV.UK for advice on litter and the law.

If you have a problem with refuse or litter in the street or public areas, or a problem with your bin collections, contact the Council's Care For Your Area Team