Our Environmental Protection team is responsible for investigating nuisance neighbours, including complaints about noise, light, smells and smoke.
The team can recommend and enforce standards, as well as providing advice and guidance. Statutory nuisance can be investigated if being caused by a domestic or commercial premises with the following exceptions.
What is a nuisance neighbour?
We all expect some problems from the people living around us as part of everyday living.
The actions of neighbours can be irritating and annoying but we can only take action where activity is found to cause a statutory nuisance. This is where the nuisance is so intrusive because of its intensity, regularity and duration, that it has an unreasonable impact on your enjoyment of your own property.
We can only act where a problem is prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance.
A statutory nuisance can arise from:
- Noise from domestic or commercial premises (loud music/TV; noisy dogs and other animals; DIY; noise from machinery etc)
- Artificial light (security lights not street lights)
- Smoke from a domestic chimney, commercial premises or garden bonfire
- Dust and debris
- Flies (only from a commercial/industrial premises)
Agricultural noise and smells
As a largely rural area, some noise and smells from farming is to be expected. However, there are codes of practice set down for farmers to follow to minimise nuisance from their actions, for example when spreading manure or using bird scarers.
How do I complain about nuisance neighbours?
Please contact the Environmental Protection team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to proceed with an investigation into your complaint, we need you to provide the following information:
- Your name
- Phone number
- The details of the complaint
- The address of the property causing the alleged nuisance
The law does not allow anonymous complaints to be investigated as statutory nuisance.
Your complaint will be logged and you will be asked to provide evidence of a possible statutory nuisance in the form of dates/times/duration of incidents logged on a monitoring form. This initial information is important as it forms the foundation of the investigation, justifying the investigation and allowing it to move the next level.
Can I take my own action for nuisance without involving the council? Yes, there are other ways to resolve statutory nuisance problems.
You could try talking to them, or send a friendly letter; setting out what in particular is causing the problem or the time that it occurs or the length of time it goes on for. Most people can be reasonable, and very often a compromise can be reached that keeps everyone happy.
Under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, you can take your own action and go directly to the Magistrates’ Court (you may want to first consult a solicitor or your local Citizen Advice Bureau). You will still, however, need to provide the evidence of statutory nuisance for the Court to rule in your favour and issue an abatement notice.