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Report a Nuisance

Statutory Nuisances

A 'statutory nuisance' is something that is either prejudicial to health, for example capable of causing disease, or something that is a nuisance in common law, for example something that affects someone's use and enjoyment of their home/property. It must occur regularly and continue for so long that it is unreasonable.

Issues covered by statutory nuisance law

There are many types of problems that can cause 'statutory nuisance', as defined in Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

  • Noise 
  • Property Condition
  • Dust / Steam / Odour from industrial or business premises
  • Smoke
  • Fumes / Gases
  • Accumulations
  • Insects / Animals
  • Artificial light 
Issues unlikely to be covered by statutory nuisance law?
  • Aircraft Noise
  • Odour from domestic kitchens
  • Road traffic noise
  • Neighbours arguing on an infrequent basis
  • A baby crying occasionally
  • Dogs barking occasionally 
How is a statutory nuisance determined?

A statutory nuisance is determined by one of our environmental health officers, not the person who has complained. The decision is based on what the 'ordinary person' would accept. We cannot therefore take into consideration shift workers or people who are studying or unwell.

We will however take into account:
  • the time of day/night that the nuisance is occurring
  • the duration
  • the frequency
  • whether there is societal acceptance, for example fireworks on bonfire night, or church bells ringing
  • type of area.
What we will do about your complaint

We will investigate any complaint, in an informal manner at first.  If the informal approach is ineffective and a statutory nuisance is proven we will deal with the matter under the statutory nuisance law, which is contained in the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Under statutory nuisance law we can issue the person responsible with a statutory notice requiring the nuisance to be stopped. If the person fails to act within the time specified they will be liable to be prosecuted.

The Council does not only respond to complaints. We also take a very pro-active approach to prevent issues that could result in a 'statutory nuisance'. For example, Environmental Health Officers consult with Building Control Officers to avoid or restrict potential nuisance issues such as dust or noise before they even occur.

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