FAQ's on Making An Environmental Complaint

How to Make an Environmental Complaint

In many cases, it will be possible to resolve an environmental problem by contacting the person or business that you think is causing the problem directly. 

Contact the Person or Business Directly 

If you do contact the person or business directly, it is best to decide before you make contact what outcome you would like to see. Then contact them directly, by phone or in writing and outline the issue that needs to be resolved, how you would like to see it resolved and agree a timescale for this to be achieved.

Irelands Environment – Who Does What

Some areas, like wildlife and habitat protection, workplace health and safety, and public health are the responsibility of specific public bodies.  

Further information on who does what in relation to Irelands Environment can be found on Ask about Ireland website.

What Complaints does the EPA deal with directly

If you’ve been dealing with an EPA licensed site and the problem has not been resolved then you should contact the EPA.  

Use the search function on our website to look up licenced sites / activities.

I have a concern about my drinking water

Any complaints an Irish Water customer may have with regard to the quality of their drinking water supply should be handled by Irish Water in the first instance. 

Find out more about making a complaint about your drinking water quality.

Who do I contact in relation to littering, backyard burning, water pollution, noise, dust and smells?

If you have contacted the person/business causing the nuisance/pollution and has not produced a satisfactory result contact the Environment Office in your Local Authority.

You can also contact the National Environmental Complaints Line on a 24 hour basis at 1850 365 121.

What does the National Environmental Complaints line do?

The Environmental Protection Agency in association with all Local Authorities provides a National environmental complaints line.

Members of the public can report pollution or illegal dumping via this 24 hour lo-call telephone number 1850 365 121. Local authorities and/or the Gardaí and the EPA will follow up on the information provided by the public.

When a member of the public calls the line, they will be answered by a person, round the clock, seven days a week.  The details of the complaint, such as location, nature of the complaint, and the complainant's contact details will be recorded and passed to the relevant local authority. The Council will then assess and investigate the complaint as appropriate.

It is important to remember that members of the public can also contact their local Council directly with their complaints. However, the national environmental complaints line ensures that day or night, the caller will reach a person who can take the details of their complaint and pass it on to the Council.

Contact the National Environmental Complaints Line on a 24 hour basis at 1850 365 121.

I have made a complaint to the Local Authority and the Nuisance/Pollution has not Stopped

In cases where a local authority has investigated your complaint and the problem persists, please contact the EPA. The EPA will then investigate the issue and help you to resolve it where possible.  It is important to note that the EPA will not become involved in investigating an issue that should be resolved by a local authority, until the relevant local authority has been given an opportunity to investigate and resolve the issue.

What to Say and Do

When you are seeking to resolve an environmental problem, keep the following things in mind.

  • Keep a record

If you have chosen to get in contact by phone, it is good practice to take note of the date and time of the call, the name of the person you spoke to, the main points of the conversation, what actions have been undertaken by the person contacted and by yourself. Where further calls are made the same information should be taken and retained.

  • Details are important 

Give as much detail as possible – Who? What? When? Where?

  • Follow up

You may wish to follow up any phone calls in writing or by e-mail.  If so, make sure you keep a copy of any correspondence. This information may be useful in later steps of the process.

  • Confidentiality 

To progress its investigation, the local authority or the EPA will, in many cases, need to be able to contact you for further information or assistance.  You will be encouraged to give your name and contact details, as investigating anonymous complaints can be very difficult. You can request that your name and contact details be kept confidential.

In order to maintain a complete public record of activities relating to an EPA licensed facility/site, it is normal practice that complaint details about licensed facilities are put on public file. Again, you can request that your name and contact details be kept confidential in which case your name and details will be withheld from the public file.

Please note that information submitted to public bodies is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts.

  • Your role as a witness

Finally, in some instances it may be necessary that a court action be taken to resolve a problem.  If this is the case, you may be asked to asked to act as a witness and to give sworn testimony.


How to deal with odour complaints?

What are odours?

Human beings have the ability to sense certain molecules at very low concentrations via sensory cells in the roof of the nose and then interpret specific molecules as producing a “smell” or odour.  The olfactory nerve sends stimuli to the brain which then identify the smell and decide how to respond to this odour. 

Where the odour is deemed to be offensive, unwanted or noxious, annoyance or frustration will often be the individual’s response to odorous chemicals.  Individual responses to odour are also likely to vary depending on previous experience of the odour, the location of exposure and the coping strategies of individuals. 

What to do if you encounter odour?

Keep a log of all the odour complaints. The log may help build a picture of the location, intensity and offensiveness of the nuisance odour or a process event that is causing the problem.

Record details on an odour complainant log sheet.

The log should include the time and date, a description of the type of odour you can smell, where it may be coming from, weather conditions and any other information.

Who do I contact in relation to odour/smells coming from a licenced facility?

It may be possible to resolve an environmental issue by directly contacting the person or business that you think is causing the problem. Decide beforehand what outcome you would like to see. Then contact them and outline the issue that needs to be resolved, how you would like to see it resolved, and see if you can agree on a timescale for this to be achieved.

If you have contacted the person or business that is causing the odour nuisance and they have not facilitated any changes to get rid of the problem odour, contact the environmental section of your local authority. If the facility has an EPA licence, then contact the OEE via the online complaint form which is here Environment Office in your Local Authority.

You can also contact the National Environmental Complaints Line on a 24-hour basis at 1850 365 121.

When to contact the EPA