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Westminster environment guidance - Section B

Find information on carbon and pollution reduction, as well as urban greening.

Section B - odour

Westminster has large numbers of existing hot food premises which discharge kitchen fumes externally at a low level. This can have a significant impact on the amenity of adjoining uses and persons using the footway and can lead to complaints.

The incorporation of full height discharge systems in hot food premises is the most effective way to minimise the detrimental impact of the odours. It gives operators flexibility for a full range of food and cooking styles without the need to adapt ventilation systems. Technology plays an important part in commercial kitchens in both maximising energy efficiency and promoting a safer working environment.

Some hot food facilities in Westminster will not be able to incorporate full height extract due to the practical constraints of the building which may include heritage considerations. In such cases the installation of a recirculation extract system without an external discharge may be supported by the council.

This will only be considered where food is cooked and reheated by electricity only, it can be demonstrated that the recirculation system can adequately contain or neutralise odours and fumes, and the scheme provides a suitable working environment for staff.

For more information on this please refer to ‘Prevention of odour, smoke and fume nuisance from commercial kitchen exhaust systems guidance (March 2021)’:

Where a full height or recirculation system cannot be implemented then a ‘bespoke’ odour reduction system will need to be installed. It must be designed to Best Practicable Means (BPM), to current industry standards, for the food type proposed at the time of the application. An operational management plan should also be provided detailing food type, cooking equipment and maintenance arrangements.

Please note that a final assessment as to whether the bespoke scheme will prevent nuisance may have to be carried out after it has been installed and is operating at its most intense use conditions.

If mechanical ventilation is required to maintain a suitable ambient temperature in the kitchen full details of any proposed external plant and equipment including an acoustic report are required. An initial conversation with the council as part of the pre-application process is recommended to ensure that appropriate standards are met.

Published: 23 April 2021

Last updated: 23 June 2021