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2How to tackle the odour issue?2 Odour nuisance is the second cause for complaint after noise and is perceived as genuine air pollution. These are increasing environmental concerns for local residents, who demand that their living environment be respected, and for industrial companies trying to control this nuisance. Numerous activities can generate unpleasant odours: animal carcass disposal, fertilizer production, waste storage and treatment, pulp production, refining, wastewater treatment, livestock farming etc. Most of these activities are subject to the legislation on classified installations.

The environmental code, as a result of the law on air and the rational use of energy of 31 December 1996, defines as fully-fledged pollution “any substance likely to cause excessive odour nuisances”. The law of 19 July 1976 relative to classified installations, reiterated in the environmental code, is the foundation of the requirements on odour pollution stipulated in the ministerial order of 2 February 1998 and in sectorial orders.

Odours are difficult to characterise precisely but it should be noted that odour nuisances are rarely associated with the notion of toxicity. This is because odours are most often perceived at very low concentrations, much lower that the limit values recognised as likely to affect health.

For installations with a declaration obligation, the requirements relative to air pollution, notably with regard to odours, are set under title 6 of the appendices of the orders enacting the applicable provisions.

Non classified installations which do not (or hardly) cause hazards or pollution are governed by the departmental health regulations enforced by the mayors.


Order of 02/02/1998 relative to the water usage and consumption as well as all types of emissions of permit holding classified installations for environmental protection and its application circular of 17 december 1998

Order of 12/02/2003 relative to the requirements applicable to permit holding classified installations under section 2731 “storage of animal by-products, including debris, offal and carcasses, with the exception of animal skin storage, diagnostic, research and education institutions”

Order of 12/03/2003 relative to the glass and mineral fibre industry

Order of 07/01/2002 relative to the requirements applicable to classified installations with a declaration obligation under section 2170 “fertilizers and culture supports (manufacture of) from organic matter" and using an aerobic biological transformation process (compost)