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Statutory nuisance

When pollution is a nuisance or affects health

A statutory nuisance is something that can be harmful to health or a nuisance. It is defined in Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and relates to the following situations:

  • properties with minor disrepair for example choked or defective drains which cause a back-up of sewage into property, or on to land or missing roof tiles which cause rainwater to leak into a house
  • smoke coming out of premises – an example could be a garden bonfire where smoke is going into a neighbour's house
  • fumes or gases – such as a dry cleaning shop on the ground floor of a tenement where the fumes seeps up into residential properties on the upper floors
  • any dust, steam, smells or other unpleasant or harmful odours or discharges coming from industrial, trade or business premises
  • any accumulation of deposits – including household waste which has started to decompose or materials containing asbestos where there is the potential release of asbestos fibres
  • noise – industrial noises or noise from commercial premises, such as live bands, which can be heard in residential properties

We are obliged to investigate such situations and determine if they are actually a statutory nuisance. If this is the case we can deal with the situation by issuing a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

For more information or to make a complaint please contact Environmental Services by completing our customer service enquiry form or by phone: 0303 123 1015

As it is necessary to show that someone is being adversely affected to demonstrate that a nuisance exists, you should be prepared to provide your contact details. We will keep details of anyone making a complaint confidential and the general public do not have any access to complainant’s details.

However, it may be necessary to reveal the identity of a complainant to support the Council’s case if formal legal action is taken. In these cases the Council will give the complainant prior notification before the case gets to this stage.

Certain types of complaint, for example ongoing noise or ongoing burning, can be dealt with on an anonymous basis however if you do not provide your details it may not be possible to bring the matter to a satisfactory resolution.

Related content

  1. When pollution is a nuisance or affects health
  2. Statutory nuisance abatement notice