Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Insects and rodents

Rodents and flying insects at waste sites

Composting, recycling and reprocessing operations can attract large volumes of insects and pests. Insects are most likely to cause a nuisance during the summer. At this time, composting facilities and food and drink packaging are likely to attract large numbers of flies and wasps to your site.

What you must do

If your activities create levels of noise, dust or odour that could cause a nuisance or complaints from the surrounding community, your local environmental health department can:

  • place restrictions on your operations
  • stop your operations
  • require you to take steps to reduce the nuisance.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Good practice

Minimise odours that could attract vermin and pests to your facilities.

If possible, locate your facilities under cover. Check walls, doors and ceilings for gaps or holes where pests could gain access. Install anti insect units such as electronic fly killers, glue boards and light attractants in your buildings.

Install traps for mice and other rodents. You may consider using pesticides or chemicals to control rodents. You must ensure that they are stored securely, in sealed, labelled drums as far away from watercourses as possible. You must not pollute land, surface waters (streams, rivers etc) or groundwater. You could be prosecuted if pesticides stored on your site cause pollution.

Pests from recycling operations

Pesticides and biocides

Preventing water pollution

Site your recycling container bays for compost, cans, plastic bottles, tins or foil as far away from neighbours as possible. Make sure that they are also located away from any areas of your site open to the public. This will minimise the chance of any insects or pests causing a nuisance.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Wash any packaging for recycling before you store. This removes contents that could attract pests and create odours. Ensure that you do not allow detergents, water contaminated with detergents or detergents remaining within the packaging to pollute land, surface waters (eg streams, burns and rivers) or groundwater.

Preventing water pollution

If you require assistance with pest control, contact the environmental health department of your local council.

Contact your local council


In general, most potential nuisance issues can be avoided by effective communications with your neighbours. Set up regular consultation days, when you invite neighbours to your site to learn more about your activities, and share views or concerns.

Further information

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Preventing air pollution

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