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Neighbour has creosoted the shared fence, don't know what to do...

(31 Posts)
JustAQuickNap Mon 01-Aug-11 14:26:23

It's a lovely day here, warm, sunny, and all our doors and windows are shut against the fumes coming in from the garden. Our garden backs onto the neighbour behind, & the boundary is legally his to maintain & do what he wants with.

Neighbour painted two of the three fence panels with creosote a couple of months ago, & the smell is still coming off them. Our garden is teeny tiny, so we're often really near the fence, & it's pretty unpleasant. DS1 is 2 and DS2 is 7 months, so we're not keen on them hanging around such massive VOCs either, & DH won't let them out in the garden at the moment at all, or hang any washing out.

The other day DH asked Neighbour if he'd mind taking the panels down for a bit until the smell goes, & we'll put up some bamboo screening in the meantime. Neighbour v reluctantly said he would, but then yesterday took off the other panel & put creosote on that one too.

We've tried really hard to keep communication friendly, but did in passing mention that DIY use of creosote is banned - neighbour says he's seen it in a shop so it can't be banned, but everything I've read on t'internet says it is - even if you've already got stuff in your shed from years ago, I think you're not allowed to use it. DH asked him if he'd mind not using creosote on the last one & we'd happily buy something else for him to use, & Neighbour just said "oh, this is the last one, I won't need to do it again for another three years, don't worry about it", & just cracked on with it.

I think he thinks it's our hard luck as it's his fence to do what he wants with. His garden is much bigger than ours, so I don't think any smell is much of an issue for him - he said he quite likes the smell anyway.

I really don't know what to do - I don't want to fall out with the neighbour, it IS his fence, but... so long happy family days messing about in the paddling pool...

Can anyone give me any advice??? Or tell me how long this blooming smell is going to last??

sparkle12mar08 Mon 01-Aug-11 14:30:25

Call the environmental health section at your council and ask them the legal position on creosote. But if they then take action against him you're likely up shit creek without a paddle because he will know it originally came from you. Much sympathy, but I don't think there's any way of confronting this and keeping it civil at the same time - you've already tried that.

belledechocchipcookie Mon 01-Aug-11 14:33:01

I know nothing of creosote but I suggest that you call environmental health and ask for their advice. They are the people to contact for noxious fumes/noise etc so they will be able to give you accurate advice on this.

HPonEverything Mon 01-Aug-11 14:33:34

Has he creosoted your side as well or just his? If it's just his side then you're really just going to have to suck it up I think. If he's done your side and not bothered to warn you or anything then that's out of order especially if you have little ones running about but again I think you'll have to suck it up, it's not like you can de-creosote the fence. If I was him I'd be very hmm about taking the panels down, it seems a bit extreme and I'd just think you were being a bit nutty (sorry). Surely the smell would still get to you from wherever he put them?

I had no idea creosote was banned.

But anyway the long-term repercussions of falling out with a neighbour over a fence are much MUCH worse than putting up with the smell of creosote and you could end up not wanting to go out in your garden ever again if he decides to make your life really uncomfortable. Take it from one who knows (parents had unreasonable-to-the-point-of-unhinged neighbours when I was growing up, and yes at one stage there was a fence and creosote involved)

greensnail Mon 01-Aug-11 14:34:34

Ooh I love the smell of creosote. Reminds me of my childhood. Sorry not very helpful to you op but just reading your post brought it back to me smile

chicletteeth Mon 01-Aug-11 14:36:02

http://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/copr/creosote.htm

It is banned. You should let him know and remind him that in three years, he will need to find an alternative since he is now aware.

Twinkiesmum Mon 01-Aug-11 14:36:21

It doesn't matter if he knows it was you that reported him or not, he doesn't care that your children are breathing in a poisonous substance - sod his finer feelings, why would you care?

Insomnia11 Mon 01-Aug-11 14:37:48

It probably isn't creosote, unless it's very old stuff as it has been banned for sale for the last 8 years. Normal fence paint can be quite stinky though, esp in warm weather.

GypsyMoth Mon 01-Aug-11 14:51:29

what brand is he using.....did you see the tin??

HPonEverything Mon 01-Aug-11 14:52:44

Wow I had no idea creosote was banned or poisonous! I love the smell too.

I suppose it depends on what outcome you want:

If your aim is to get him fined and have him 'pay' for his mistake then contact EH. It means you'll make an enemy and life could be uncomfortable but it will make you feel better about your current situation.

If you want the problem to end immediately then I don't think anything is going to resolve that so you're best off doing nothing except perhaps politely pointing him in the direction of the latest creosote directive, which it sounds like you've sort of already done.

squeakytoy Mon 01-Aug-11 14:55:59

There is no danger from the smell of it. Unless your children are licking the fence, then they are not going to come to any harm.

ditavonteesed Mon 01-Aug-11 14:56:46

hmmm creosote, I love the smell had no idea it was not good.

nomoreheels Mon 01-Aug-11 15:04:22

I loathe the smell, it makes me feel really ill so you have my sympathies. I use a panel fence weather stain from Wilkos & it doesn't smell at all. I agree that your only plan now is to politely tell him it's banned (if it is actual creosote) & ask him to switch to a different low VOC product.

I'm surprised the smell is still there after several months! Nasty.

avoidingwork Mon 01-Aug-11 15:04:57

OMG my son is creosting our stables as we speak shock

JustAQuickNap Mon 01-Aug-11 15:08:31

I thought he might be using one of the substitutes that are now available, but no, apparently DH saw the tin and it is creosote.

You're right about calling EH - I don't want to get him into any trouble or bring in other parties, or have him fined or anything - I'd just like to be able to go out in the garden! Our garden is only about 20ft by 20ft, so there's really no getting away from it.

And yes - he did our side too without any warning - though I think he's entitled to do what he wants as it's legally his boundary.

He's a nice bloke and I definitely don't want to fall out with him. At the moment I don't think there's much I can do - I might try to talk to him again at least to get reassurance that he won't use it again (his garden also backs on to our next-door neighbours), though if he won't believe it's banned I don't hold out much hope of even that.

Would showing him evidence that it's banned just seem confrontational?

SoupDragon Mon 01-Aug-11 15:11:28

I love the smell of creosote

amicissima Mon 01-Aug-11 15:11:57

It doesn't look as if inhalation (scroll down and click on Q&A number 12) is considered to be a risk.

As real creosote hasn't been in the shops for years, it's probably a substitute.

(I love the smell, too).

thehairybabysmum Mon 01-Aug-11 15:26:19

Just fro info squakytoy, licking a treated area (well chewing of treated wood chippings) is actually calculated when assessing if such products are safe!!

Your washing and children will come to no harm though from the smell.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 01-Aug-11 15:32:11

OP don't know if this is allowed where you are, but have you thought of having a fire in your back garden? The smoke might distract from the smell, and you might be able to burn something like pine or driftwood which smells nice -?

JustAQuickNap Mon 01-Aug-11 15:41:05

I'm pretty sure we're not allowed a fire around here, though that would be nice.

I know that the carcinogenic risks of creosote were determined by repeated application to skin (nice), so fumes from a fence aren't anything like this - still it feels kind of against my instinct to sit my 7-month old in close proximity to such strong fumes. Not very scientific, I know.

And no, the smell's certainly not going to harm the washing, though I hear it might be a bugger to get out.

monkeytoad35 Thu 06-Apr-17 20:20:58

Hello there. I just wondered how long it took for the smell to go? Did you report your neighbour to Environmental Health? I got home today to 3 creosoted fence panels my neighbour has done, and it STINKS 😣

honeyroar Thu 06-Apr-17 20:37:53

I thought creosote was banned and used creocote (substitute) instead until recently finding it openly for sale in a local farm shop a couple of years ago, so I've used that to do my stables ever since. It's much better than substitute products, he's right, it probably won't need doing again for a few years. It does take a couple of weeks to dry properly.

I wouldn't be bothered about breathing it, but wouldn't want the children touching it. Could you put the bamboo screens on your side of the fence for a week or two? It may block the smell a bit too! And yes it's a nightmare to get out of clothes, I don't think I ever have, I always plan on binning what I wear to creosote in.

TwattyMcTwatface Thu 06-Apr-17 20:38:43

6 years wink

honeyroar Thu 06-Apr-17 20:39:13

Oops, zombie thread! Didn't realise.

RicottaPancakes Thu 06-Apr-17 20:41:34

Are you sure it's not creocote? It's the new better alternative.

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