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Environmental nuisance complaints

Talk direct first

If you believe you are affected by a nuisance you should politely speak or write to the person or organisation responsible.

Although you may find this difficult, it is surprising how often people are unaware of the problems they are causing.

If that fails, talk to us

If you feel unable to contact the person directly - or your direct approach has been unsuccessful - then get in touch.

Download and complete the Complaint form (Word Document, 0.1 Mb) if you wish to register a complaint against a source of nuisance.

If the alleged nuisance is happening regularly then download a Log Sheet (Word Document, 1.11 Mb) to record the times. This will support the complaint.

What happens next?

  1. After we receive your complaint, our investigating officer will write to the person or organisation - advising them of the complaint and requesting their co-operation and reminding them of their legal responsibilities.

    Our officer will provide you with information explaining the law and our procedures - and will ask you to complete and return a diary, giving details of when the problem occurs and how it affects you.

  2. This information is useful for determining the extent of the problem and to identify when it may be possible to witness the nuisance.
  3. When you return your diary sheets we will examine the enteries to determine whether a Statutory Nuisance exists - and if appropriate further investigations will be carried out.
  4. If we are happy that is is a Statutory Nuisance, then we will usually serve an Abatement Notice on the person responsible.
  5. If following this the problem persists, our investigating officer will attempt to gather further evidence to demonstrate a breach of the notice. If the evidence shows non-compliance with the notice, we may start court proceedings.

    Please remember that at this stage you and/or other witnessess may be required to provide a statement and give evidence in court.

Can we always take action?

For us to take action under Section 80 we will need to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt' that a nuisance exists, as this is criminal law.

Where a nuisance is intermittent, it may be difficult to obtain the necessary evidence for proceedings in the courts.

There may also be other instances of disturbance where they are unable to act e.g. the noise may be at such a level as not to cause a statutory nuisance, but still is an annoyance to you.

In these cases, people who are affected have the power to take their case directly to the Magistrates' Court. You may take private action against the person(s) responsible for causing the nuisance under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act. As this would be civil law where you only have to prove 'on the balance of probability' your chances of success may be greater, none the less, civil action may be costly and therefore it may be advisable to consult a solicitor in the first instance.

You should first try to remedy the matter amicably by discussion. The courts are likely to ask whether you have done so. The courts will also require evidence - for example record sheets, witnesses etc.

Ask us for advice or to investigate first. Taking any civil action may be costly and therefore it is also advisable to consult a solicitor in the first instance. 

The Environmental Protection Act 1990

This identifies a number of issues which can constitute a nuisance - including noise, odour, accumulations or deposits, dust etc.

Whether or not a Statutory Nuisance exists depends on several factors - including the severity, duration, frequency and whether it would interfere with the 'average' person's reasonable enjoyment of their property.

Read more about the Environmental Protection Act 1990

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