A statutory nuisance is something that, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, affects a person's health or unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of your home.

Noise is the most common complaint; however, there are other things that can be considered as nuisance, including:

  • smoke
  • light
  • odour (from commercial premises only)

When a complaint is made we will consider the duration, severity and likelihood of recurrence before a course of action is decided. In most cases you will be asked to complete a log sheet.

Noise

The council has a legal duty to advise and assist local people on noise nuisance issues. Noise from neighbours can be a serious problem. Business and industry can also be a source of disturbance. For example, late night deliveries, workshop activities and noise from ventilation systems are common causes of complaints. If the noise is bad enough to prevent relaxation or deny sleep, the long-term effect can be damaging to the health and well-being of the person at the receiving end.

A noise is a nuisance when it materially affects your comfort or quality of life. The noise can be continuous or intermittent, but its assessment is based on the concepts of reasonableness and the 'average person'. Consequently, normal daytime noise (e.g. conversations, flushing toilets, mowing the lawn, vacuuming at a reasonable time of day) would not generally be considered a nuisance even if it was disturbing someone trying to sleep during the day.

Noise we can help with:

Noise we can't help with:

  • children playing
  • road traffic on the public highway
  • occasional or one-off parties
  • noisy behaviour in the street
  • fireworks
  • air traffic noise

Smoke

All smoke from residential, business and industrial premises is covered by statutory nuisance laws, unless they have an exemption. If you're being disturbed by a bonfire or smoke in your area, we always recommend that you try to resolve the problem informally first, before you contact us. We find most issues can be resolved informally without the need for our involvement.

Factors considered when assessing a smoke complaint include:

  • wind direction
  • time of year
  • time of day
  • type of Smoke
  • how unreasonable the activity is

Under the Highways Act 1980, anyone lighting a fire and allowing smoke drift across a road may face a fine if it endangers traffic. In this scenario please contact the police.

Light

Light pollution or nuisance can be caused by security lights, car park lighting and floodlights.

Factors considered when assessing a light pollution complaint include:

  • use of light
  • direction of beam
  • power of bulb

If you are suffering a light nuisance from a neighbouring property, we would advise that you approach the neighbour in the first instance to see whether the bulb or the direction of the light can be changed.

Odour

We can only investigate odour nuisance when the source of the nuisance is from a commercial premises.

Factors considered when assessing an odour nuisance complaint include:

  • type of odour
  • strength of odour
  • weather conditions
  • character of the area

Log a Complaint

When logging a complaint please provide your name, address, telephone number, address of the alleged perpetrator and a description of the nuisance. The majority of nuisance complaints will initially receive a log sheet that will need to be completed over a 2-4 week period and returned to the council. During this time an officer will begin initial investigations into the complaint.

Please note that in most cases we will not investigate anonymous complaints.

In cases where we have carried out the necessary procedures and feel that a statutory nuisance is not being caused you can take your own action under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

It is important to note that when investigating a complaint, the council has to act within the constraints of the law and we can only take legal action where the law applies and where the necessary evidence exists.

Last updated on 10/08/2018

Contact the Environmental Health team