Complaints relating to the Hospital catering unit (FOI)
Complaints relating to the Hospital catering unit (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 29 September 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
In regard to investigations into complaints of smells at the hospital catering unit at St Peter’s Technical Park, and the decision not to consider them a statutory or official nuisance, could I have:
(i) A list of what equipment was used to make the findings and any results / measurements it took.
(ii) The number of regular checks made during the investigations over the past two years, broken down by month.
A detailed breakdown of all evidence used to make the final decision not to consider the smells from the hospital catering unit a nuisance.
Copies of any documents created in relation to the investigations in regard to the smells at the hospital catering unit at St Peter's Technical Park and their findings.
Copies of any ‘nuisance diaries’ given to the Government in regard to the St Peter’s Technical Park catering smells over the past year, with names and personal information redacted to protect identities.
The number of complaints that have been received in the past year in relation to the hospital catering unit at St Peter’s Technical Park, broken down by type of complaint.
A review of our records for the two-year period up to 1 September 2021 was carried out in relation to the hospital catering unit at St Peter’s Technical Park.
(i) An Environmental Health (EH) officer visited the site on a number of occasions and carried out a ‘sniff test’. Sniff tests are a standard methodology for undertaking investigations into complaints of odours relating to Statutory Nuisance. The test involved an officer walking around the site to determine various characteristics of the odours.
Findings from these assessments are detailed in a report provided for question C.
(ii) The following table provides a breakdown of the monthly visits requested.
Monthly visits to monitor odour from the hospital catering unit
Number of visits
These figures only represent officers visiting the site to specifically investigate the odour, therefore, site visits for other matters have not been included in these figures.
Please note that a number of the EH team were seconded to Covid-19 related duties for a significant period of 2020.
The following evidence was reviewed using the Standard Factors, as detailed in the table below, since these must be considered when determining whether something constitutes a statutory nuisance:
emails from residents
returned nuisance diaries
petition received from residents
emails from Catering Unit
information provided by the Catering unit relating to Carbon Filters
odour diary provided by Catering Unit
list of meals cooked at the Catering Unit
findings from site visits
Standard Factors taken into consideration in relation to statutory nuisance investigation
|Standard Factors ||Environmental Health’s comments |
|Frequency ||The odour is not present at the residential properties every day and is very dependent on wind speed / direction. |
|Time of day||The odour is only ever present during the morning, therefore it would not disturb sleep or similar. |
|Duration ||When present the odour is usually intermittent, only present for short periods and dependent on wind direction / speeds. |
|Day of the week||The odour is only present Monday-Friday when a good number of people would be at work or similar.|
|Offensives ||Generally the odour when present is slightly / mildly unpleasant, not very unpleasant |
|Intensity ||Generally the odour when present is very slight or slight, not strong or extremely strong |
|Where odour can be detected||Although the odour may be detectable indoors on occasion there are steps that residents can take to reduce this impact for example by closing windows to that side of the property. It seems that the odour detectable in gardens is more of an issue, however when determining whether something is a statutory nuisance, we are mainly focusing on the impact it is having on someone’s use of their property (house) and not when they are using their garden. |
|Impact ||Based on the above, I do not believe that those living nearby would be significantly impacted by the odours. |
|Sensitivity of complainant||We have to consider how the situation would impact a general member of the public with no sensitivities to odour. It is likely that some of the complainants would be classed as sensitive complainants – Further, two of the people returning diaries identified that they had sensitivities to odour. |
|Location || This is a Technical / Industrial Park and therefore it is to be expected that there may be more noise, odour and similar than would be found at alternative locations. |
|Planning permission||The fact that the Catering Unit has planning permission does not mean the matter cannot be a statutory nuisance, however we have to consider the fact that they do have permission to operate at this site. |
|Avoidability ||The Catering Unit need to cook food, therefore even with appropriate mitigation there was always likely to be some odour coming from the unit|
|Convention ||It is to be expected that there will be some odour coming from a catering unit where cooking takes place |
|Numbers complaining||Out of the 49 diaries sent out only 10 were returned completed, and of these some contained very little information|
|Importance ||It is vital for the effective running of the hospital to have food for its patients. |
The following table details documents that were created in relation to the investigation.
Document created in relation to the catering unit odour investigation
Comment re release
|Officer Visit Diary May 2021||EH officers visit record||Redacted version provided|
|Odour letters and diaries template||Template of EH letter and diary sent to all who signed the petition ||Redacted version provided|
|Officer witness statement||Officer witness statement ||Redacted version provided|
|Document showing return of diaries||EH record of when diaries were received from residents||Redacted version provided|
|Catering Unit Team Diary Compilations||This is the diary returned by staff from the Catering Unit ||Redacted version provided|
Officer visit diary May 2021 (Redacted)
Odour letters and diaries Template (Redacted)
Officer Witness Statement (Redacted)
Copy of Diary Returns (Redacted)
Catering Unit Team Diary Compilation (Redacted)
Compilation Catering unit diary 2 (Redacted)
Please note that EH sent out 49 nuisance diaries to residents in the area who had signed a petition, however, only 10 were completed and a further five were returned blank.
We have provided copies of the completed diaries along with an email from a resident following receipt of the nuisance diary.
Resident Diary 1 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 2 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 3 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 4 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 5 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 6 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 7 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 8 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 9 (Redacted)
Resident Diary 10 (Redacted)
Email comment (Redacted)
The following table provides our best estimation regarding the complaints received in the year ending 1 September 2021 since there are overlaps in the complaints as some have been sent to various sections including Environmental Health and Development Control (Planning).
IHE have considered it a complaint when someone has been directly contacted and not when they are copied into ongoing complaints correspondence
Complaints received in relation to the Hospital Catering unit in year ending 1 September 2021
Type of complaint
Number of complaints
|Cooking odour ||14|
|Noise (Plant) ||3|
|Noise (Vehicle charging)||5|
|Operating times ||1|
Please note that although there were 25 complaints received during this period, these, originated from only three different complainants.
Personal information within the attached documents has been redacted in accordance with Article 25 (Personal Information) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
Article 25 - Personal information
(1) Information is absolutely exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005.
(2) Information is absolutely exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject as defined in the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018; and
(b) its supply to a member of the public would contravene any of the data protection principles, as defined in that Law.
(3) In determining for the purposes of this Article whether the lawfulness principle in Article 8(1)(a) of the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018 would be contravened by the disclosure of information, paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 2 to that Law (legitimate interests) is to be read as if sub-paragraph (b) (which disapplies the provision where the controller is a public authority) were omitted.