The community website for Forest Hill and Honor Oak, London SE23
Events | Features | Forum | Local Books | Contact

Forum Archive
Chemical Smell

Author Message
Joined N/A
Posted on Friday, 28 May, 2004 - 01:36 pm:   

I have lived in three different boroughs over the past 10 years and one thing that has been common to these places ( Woolwich, Colliers Wood, now Forest Hill) is the presence of a very strong chemical smell that lingers in the air, usually at night.

I have never experienced it during the day (from what I can remember) but sometimes, mostly during the summer months, the smell is so strong I have to sleep with my window shut. Does anyone know where this come from? Has anyone else experienced this?
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 31 May, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

Locally to me,( Benson) people have been burning rubbish at night in their back gardens and hoping that no-one notices- ie carpets, tyres,etc, all the stuff that contravenes environmental health. Also some of my neighbours have been using chemical wood treatments on their trellises, etc, which seems to flow a long way. If not this, then maybe something from the CHP incinerator at New Cross. As we are on a Heathrow flight path, maybe it is the effluent from the planes- I believe they call it vortex.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 01 June, 2004 - 01:27 pm:   

Or is the chemical smell caused by the volumes of through traffic moving through our town?
Joined N/A
Posted on Wednesday, 02 June, 2004 - 12:35 pm:   

It may be the incinerator yes although I used to smell it in Colliers Wood (SW19) as well. I really don't know what it is but I am pretty sure it is not due to a neighbour's action or planes.

As for traffic there isn't hardly any where I live. Last but not least it is always at night and starts (roughly) at around / midnight and ends with the morning (5 / 6 am). I have never smellt it during the day.

It does not happen every night although this may be due to the direction of the wind.

It really is bugging me. Has anyone else noticed this?
Joined N/A
Posted on Wednesday, 02 June, 2004 - 02:00 pm:   

Must say I've never noticed it - although I did notice at around 6.15 last night the smell of something burning in the Horniman area.

It is highly unlikely to be the SELCHP plant as firstly it doesn't operate at night, secondly, it's a good three miles away and thirdly, as anyone who uses the recycling centre beside the plant will know, it really doesn't smell.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 03 August, 2004 - 01:18 pm:   

And there it was again last night!!!! It woke me up at 4.00am and I had to close the window! I live behind the station in FH (Church rise / south road area). Anyone noticed it?
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 03 August, 2004 - 01:25 pm:   

I live in roughly the same area Gilles (although about 2/3 streets further back) and have to say I've never noticed any smells in the 2 years I've lived here - I sleep with the windows closed though so that may explain that!
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 03 August, 2004 - 01:57 pm:   

God I feel I'm going mad!!! (Erm, well , you don't have to comment on that...) No one I've ever spoken to has ever experienced it either.

Although sleeping with the window closed may explain it yes. It never occurs during the day for some reason and stops at around

This is so odd! I really don't know what it could be and it is not in this area alone. I will find the cause of it one day! (Although it may turn out to be my socks.)
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 03 August, 2004 - 05:23 pm:   

I live off Honor Oak Road and I first noticed the smell a couple of weeks ago. It was very strong this morning, it's the first thing I noticed when I woke up - we had an easterly breeze, so maybe that is a clue to its source.
Joined N/A
Posted on Thursday, 05 August, 2004 - 12:54 pm:   

Thank you!! At last I know I am not mad! Sometimes it can be quite mild but at other times it is utterly irrespirable. It usually wakes me up. I've got no idea where it comes from.
Joined N/A
Posted on Thursday, 05 August, 2004 - 03:53 pm:   

Maybe it is something that is being carried as freight by train during the night?
The original BT
Joined N/A
Posted on Friday, 06 August, 2004 - 09:15 am:   

I've noticed an odour on a few occasions early in the morning. It seems to me to be a 'hot plastic' sort of smell.
Joined N/A
Posted on Friday, 06 August, 2004 - 12:42 pm:   

Yes. That's the one.
Joined N/A
Posted on Sunday, 08 August, 2004 - 06:39 pm:   

I live next to train station and I have been noticing the smell for a while at night. Now two things, works carried out somewhere on the railway track at noght ( my God th noise is amazing !!)or to the other side but I cannot quite identify. Or at the back of a chinese restaurant on dartmouth road the owners are doing always so many works to improve their property, it has been going on for does smell like plastic/rubber burning or melting or something partner and I are on the case as, like you, we cannot stand sleeping in this warm weather with our windows closed...we will post more in due course.
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 09 August, 2004 - 12:59 pm:   

Fantastic. Do keep me informed. Anything I can help you with?

As said before it is not just in this area. I have experienced this in other areas of London as well (Woolwich and more recently tooting).
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 09 August, 2004 - 10:46 pm:   

The smell is here tonight, started just after 10 pm. No movement at the back of the chinese restaurant,and no noise from the railway track my hypothesis were rubbish. It is very difficult to find out. Maybe we should get envirocall involved.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 10 August, 2004 - 09:07 am:   

Hi Mills - yes, I noticed it last night too. I live at the bottom of the hill near the south circular. The smell gave me a headache.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 10 August, 2004 - 09:16 am:   

I also noticed the smell last night, so I spoke to Environmental Health this morning. They've asked that as soon as someone notices the smell they should call 8314 6000 (Town Hall) and ask to speak to a local E.H. officer, who are on duty from 7pm till 3am.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 10 August, 2004 - 10:57 am:   

we shall do that, thank you, we may end up at least finding out what it is
Joined N/A
Posted on Sunday, 15 August, 2004 - 10:45 am:   

I live below Honor Oak Road- I noticed an odd smell on Friday evening and it is still around now- smells like kerosene/tarmac- or the stuff people use to cover flat rooves. It is strong outside but is even permeating my home.I can't see any evidence locally of my neighbours doing anything like this. It seems to come and go as the wind changes direction. Very unpleasant. I will certainly phone EH if it is still around this evening.
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 16 August, 2004 - 06:48 am:   

Well I have been following these threads for a while now and I departed Honor Oak Park at 0515 this morning with some excitement. I sniffed the air very carefully as I stood in the road hoping that I could be the one to identify the whiff. Sadly, the air was clean, sweet, a little crisp and a portent of the warm summer's day you are doubtless now enjoying. I only visit every couple of months so the mystery will probably be solved by then. There is considerable excavation and road works along Honor Oak Road/Park at the top of Hengrave Road and this could be the source of R's smell.
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 16 August, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

Hi Julian
I glad I am not the only early starter. I left Devenshire Rd at 5.30 and again air smelt fine
Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 16 August, 2004 - 03:09 pm:   

The work on Honor Oak Road is replacing a gas main. The smell could be from bonding the HDPE (plastic) sections together. A hot welding process is used. It shouldn't be that bad, though the asphalting could add to it.

Joined N/A
Posted on Monday, 16 August, 2004 - 03:53 pm:   


I don't think that this smell has anything to do with a localised (ie: down someone's street) problem. It is, I think, more down to a factory or something like that.

There is no work going on near where I live at the moment. It is probably carried by the wind and may even come from quite a distance.
Joined N/A
Posted on Wednesday, 15 September, 2004 - 08:45 am:   

The smell is still around. I have noticed it recently along Honor Oak Road near the school; it was very strong there. Also near the junction of Stondon Park and Brockley Grove, also very strong. Both occasions were early in the morning around 5:30.
The Dommy
Joined N/A
Posted on Wednesday, 15 September, 2004 - 12:53 pm:   

London Open House Day, Sep 19th. The incinerator at New Cross (which has been mooted as the culprit / originator for the odour) is open to visitors on Sunday 10am-4pm. Investigate / smell for yourself...
Forest Chill
Joined N/A
Posted on Thursday, 16 September, 2004 - 03:21 pm:   

Suprised any of you can/or want to smell anything!
Whenever I leave the house in the morning all I can smell is car exhaust!
Forest Hill is one of the best part of london but garden of eden it aint!
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 02 March, 2005 - 09:00 pm:   

It wasn't me, try Newman or TJ

Local forums in nearby areas: | | | | | |