My neighbour tells me he has just installed a composting toilet and I'm a bit concerned that he will be spreading human waste on his garden and this could be a health hazard. Is he in breach of any regulations?

Composting toilets are becoming increasingly popular; they treat sewage on site, recycling the nutrients into fertiliser that you can then use on the garden.

Your neighbour's installation of a composting toilet in his garden must be in accordance with the Building Regulations 2010, Part G. The regulations stipulate that where composting toilets are used, suitable arrangements should be made for the disposal of the waste, either on or off the property. The waste disposal must, however, be directed away from any living spaces and food preparation areas, which should help to allay your concerns about hygiene.

Actual use of the compost produced on a domestic garden is unregulated, which may be unwelcome news. However, no part of the composting toilet can be installed in any place where it would be affected by flood water. This is to prevent any unwanted leakage before the waste is composted. In fact, the location of the toilet must be as far as possible away from water supplies.

Although you don't need planning permission for a domestic composting toilet, your neighbour does need building regulation consent. Assuming the composting toilet works correctly, the nutrients that are produced after the recycling process shouldn't pose a health hazard.

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