Peak occupied a unit on an industrial estate which it used for its business of manufacturing curry ingredients. Hirose occupied the adjacent unit.

Hirose’s employees complained that the smells emanating from Peak’s unit caused them breathing difficulties, sinus problems, severe headaches, feelings of sickness and nausea and dry throats. There were no similar complaints from Peak’s employees and neither the local authority nor the Health and Safety Executive considered that there was a statutory nuisance.  

Hirose bought a claim in nuisance against Peak seeking an injunction and damages to compensate it for leasing alternative accommodation. Peak argued that it was making a reasonable use of the premises and the smells did not constitute a nuisance.

The judge agreed with Peak and his decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. Whilst strong smells were undoubtedly capable of constituting a nuisance, in this case the premises in question were on a light industrial estate and it was to be expected that smells may sometimes emanate from premises of that type. The use which Peak was making of its premises was not unusual or unreasonable given the nature of the premises and, whilst unpleasant smells did sometimes emanate, the permeation of the smell was intermittent and had continued for a very long period before Hirose took legal action.