Introduction to Kitchen Odour Assessment
Hot food takeaways, restaurants and other premises containing commercial kitchens have potential to cause noise and odour issues from kitchen ventilation exhausts, particularly when located in close proximity to housing and when not well managed or poorly installed. This has led to a requirement for a Kitchen Odour Assessment to be prepared in support of planning applications for new development proposals containing commercial kitchens.
In order to assist Environmental Health Officers, Planning Officers and other statutory members with the review process of new schemes, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released a report in 2005 titled ‘Guidance on the Control of Odour and Noise from Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Systems’. The document contained best practice guidance for the design and operation of ventilation systems with a particular focus on techniques for minimising odour and noise impacts. However, as over a decade has passed since its release the document was considered out of date and withdrawn by DEFRA last year.
Updated Guidance Needed
Since the status of the report was changed, research has been conducted with local authorities revealing that 97% of those surveyed still utilised the document, with only 7% taking steps to create replacement guidance. It was therefore acknowledged that an update was needed if it was to continue to be relied upon. Consultation with industry stakeholders, including kitchen engineering specialists, manufacturers and Environmental Health Officers was subsequently undertaken and the original report updated.
Revised Guidance Outcomes
The amended document follows the original report structure with updates highlighted in italics to make it clear where the revisions have been made. There are also useful additions such as case study material, providing an insight into common issues and how these are resolved, and a diagram showing an example layout of a well-designed kitchen appliance ventilation system. This is particularly useful as it provides a visual representation of the recommendations and how these should be applied. The revised guidance also provides consideration of wider changes in cooking methods, such as a pizza oven using wood fired fuel, and the implications of this regarding adhering to legislation.
It is anticipated that the revised guidance will be used by local authorities when assessing new development proposals that include commercial kitchens. This will ensure that an appropriate kitchen ventilation exhaust system is installed in accordance with most up to date legislation and technologies. It is recommended that an Air Quality specialist with knowledge of the new guidance is consulted at an early stage of the project to ensure that an appropriate Kitchen Odour Assessment is prepared to support the proposals.
If you are experiencing odour issues with your existing kitchen ventilation exhaust system or require a Kitchen Odour Assessment to support a project that incorporates a commercial kitchen, then please get in touch with one of our air quality specialists today to see how we can help you.