Housing and Public Health

For any queries on the following, please contact the Public Health and Housing Team on 0300 013 3333 to discuss or email us at env.health@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Statutory Nuisance - Smells, Smoke, Pollution, Health Nuisance.

In order for The Council to take action, a Statutory Nuisance must pose a threat to health or to have a significant effect on another person at their premises. It must therefore be more than just an annoyance or irritation.  It also needs to occur for some length of time, or with some frequency. "One-off" occurrences are much less likely to be regarded as Statutory Nuisances.

Smells/Odour Pollution

Odour problems come in many forms. These could be day to day smells, for example the odour of cooking at commercial premises or, one off instances of petrol odours, gas, solvents, drainage related smells etc. which may require immediate attention.

For many people, odours affecting a home, property or workplace, is a source of irritation and stress that can interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property.

Frequently, problems regarding odour can be resolved informally by politely explaining the issue with the person responsible for the odour, and trying to come to a compromise. However, this informal approach may not always be successful.

If you are experiencing problems with an odour nuisance, you may wish to contact us to discuss.


For many people, dust and grit affecting a home, property or workplace, is a source of irritation and stress that can interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property.

We advise that you contact whomever is causing the issue directly to see if a resolution can be found informally.  However, where this is not possible or it is ineffective you should contact us to discuss.

We will investigate complaints relating to dust and grit arising from construction sites, commercial premises and domestic properties.

We are able to serve a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice if the problem could cause a health risk or nuisance.  Failure to comply with a Notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result.

Dampness in Homes

Dampness in a home has a number of possible repercussions. 

Walls and floors which are damp will be colder than dryer structures. This will make it more difficult to heat, increasing the fuel/energy required to heat a property.

The structural damage caused by dampness and rot may become a safety risk, and any resulting mould or fungal growth, may have an adverse impact on the respiratory system of the occupants.

The main causes of Dampness in a home are;

  • Penetrating Dampness – water/rain seeps in through a defective part of the structure such as a wall, roof or chimney.
  • Rising Dampness - Moisture seeps up through the floor and walls where is a defective damp proof course, or, where no damp proof course exists.
  • Leaking pipes – a defect in a water or drainage pipe, may be leaking internally.

These types of dampness can be remedied with structural repairs.

  • Condensation – this occurs when warm and humid air in a home, meets a colder surface or where the air becomes trapped.  The water in the warm air condenses on the colder surface, and small water droplets form.  This in itself may damage the surface of the wall, but more often, mould spores grow here due to the moist surface. This mould can grow on any surface – the back surface of a sofa, wardrobe, on shoes or other stored items.

Condensation and mould growth can be managed by following this advice;

  • Reduce the moisture in the air. Dry clothes outside and ensure that Tumble Dryers are vented to the outside air. Steam caused by cooking or washing should be allowed to leave the kitchen/bathroom via an open window or by using an extractor.
  • Wipe off any condensed water which may be visible on walls or surfaces.
  • Don’t place furniture up against a cold wall.
  • Allow your home to be ventilated by opening windows for a short period of time.
  • Use water absorbing gels or dehumidifiers in spaces prone to condensation.
  • Remove mould growth by wiping affected surface with a cloth and mild bleach solution – you don’t want to over wet the surface or damage the finish/paint.
  • Painting affected walls with an antifungal treatment can prevent the further regrowth of mould.  

If you suspect that your home is being affected by Dampness, please contact us to discuss.

For further information, The World Health Organisation has produced this leaflet: Damp & Mould Information Brochure

Pest control

If you have problems with pests such as rats, mice or wasps, Officers from our Pest Control service can offer free advice and can visit your home to: 

  • identify the pest infesting your property and give you an indication of the extent of the problem,
  • tell you which treatment is best suited to the pest and the area in which it has been found,
  • advise you of best practice in order to help avoid attracting pests to your property,
  • advise you about employing a pest control contractor if you cannot carry out the treatment yourself. 

If you have any concerns regarding a particular pest or situation, please contact the Environmental Health Pest Control Officers on ph. 0300 013 3333 or by email at  env.health@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk . You can also call into our offices at 2 Church Street, Newtownards, BT23 4AP.

We can give you advice on most pests including;

  • Ants
  • Bedbugs
  • Bees
  • Cockroaches
  • Fleas
  • Flies
  • Foxes
  • Gulls
  • Insects
  • Lice
  • Moths
  • Pigeons
  • Rodents
  • Wasps