What is a Statutory Nuisance?
What is a Statutory Nuisance?
A Statutory Nuisance is determined under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Types of nuisance under the Act are:
- Any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
- Smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
- Fumes or gases emitted from private premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Any dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Any animal kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Any insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Noise (except that from aircraft other than model aircraft) emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- Noise that is prejudicial to health or a nuisance and is emitted from or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street (other than noise made by traffic, by any military force or by political demonstration or demonstration supporting or opposing a cause or campaign
Noise is by far the most common complaint of nuisance received by the Environmental Health Team. Nuisance can be caused by both individuals or companies, in a residential or business setting.
As with all nuisances the Local Authority must demonstrate that the nuisance is occurring, or likely to occur. To do this, we require evidence from the person suffering the nuisance in the form of log sheets, photographs, video evidence etc, to demonstrate that the issue is affecting the use and enjoyment of their property.
The determination of a statutory nuisance is based on numerous factors, including:
- How extreme it is.
- Impact - i.e. material interference with use of property, or personal well-being.
- Local environment.
- Sensitivity of complainant.
- Isolated acts, unless extreme, would not be considered to be a nuisance, for example 'one- off' parties. The problem must normally be continuous or frequent.
- Any assessment of whether a particular problem amounts to a statutory nuisance is made from the perspective of an ordinary reasonable person. This means that the council must exclude any personal circumstances or sensitivities of the complainant from our considerations when assessing nuisance.
- Factors such as unusual shift patterns, medical conditions or other sensitivities of the complainant cannot be taken into account.
- We also receive complaints about nuisance from commercial and industrial sources.
What we can deal with
These are some examples:
- Playing of loud music
- Constant or frequent dog barking
- Intruder alarms
- DIY at unreasonable times
- Noise from air handling units on a commercial business
- Artificial light - e.g. security lighting shining into the living areas of a property
- Bonfires - smoke from items that may cause dark or toxic smoke or smoke from persistent garden bonfires.
- Smells from commercial or industrial sources
What we can't deal with
The following list outlines some of the common complaints we receive, but cannot deal with under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
- Household noise, for example, shutting doors; walking up and down stairs; children playing; flushing toilets; noise between flats where there is poor insulation or where laminated floors have been installed
- Occasional garden bonfires
- Sunlight pollution
- Trivial, harassing or repetitious (vexatious) complaints will not be taken into account
Further, more detailed information can be found in the leaflets below.
How to complain
If you wish to complain you can contact us on the number below, or online here: Report a nuisance - noise or other pollution
- Environmental Protection UK - Contains useful information about pollution in general, with specific information on various noise issues.
- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - The professional organisation for Environmental Health Officers. It contains news on legislation and the profession.
- Institute of Acoustics - This is a professional body for those who deal specifically with acoustics (sound). This site covers all aspects of acoustics including aerodynamic noise, environmental, industrial and architectural acoustics, audiology, building acoustics, hearing, electro acoustics, infrasonic, ultrasonics, noise, physical acoustics, speech, transportation noise, underwater acoustics and vibration.