Odour assessment for residential development adjacent to dairy farm

We undertook an Odour Impact Assessment to determine the suitability of a site for a proposed residential development next to a dairy farm.

Key details

Project name
Odour assessment for a residential development



Services provided

  • Odour Impact Assessment
  • Air Quality Assessment


Our client, a housing developer, was proposing a 200-home residential development on a site in Staffordshire located next to a dairy farm. The dairy farm contained animal housing and slurry storage which had the potential to restrict the area of the site that would be suitable for development, limiting the number of dwellings. We were appointed to assess the significance of negative odour impacts to inform the site’s suitability.

View of proposed development site as an empty field


Odour is partly subjective, and there is no single odour assessment tool that can provide a clear conclusion. Therefore, three methods were used to assess the likely impacts of odour on future development:

  • A qualitative assessment using the source-pathway-receptor concept.
  • 29 “sniff tests” on three separate days to monitor the actual odour levels at the proposed development. This provided a snapshot series of perceivable odour levels, taking into account the frequency, intensity, duration, offensiveness, and location (the so-called FIDOL factors).
  • Analysis of odour complaints received by the local authority to understand the history of odour at existing receptors around the proposed development site.

The results showed that the odour impacts from the dairy farm are unlikely to be significant, and we advised our client that the whole site is likely to be suitable for residential use.

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