Public health and nuisance

We have powers to investigate and take action to deal with statutory nuisances and public health matters.

This can include:

  • accumulations of waste or overgrown vegetation, providing a food source or harbourage for rodents
  • smoke, including bonfires, dust and fumes
  • dirty and verminous premises
  • drainage complaints
  • defective premises causing problems to neighbours, for example leaking gutters causing dampness
  • asbestos, advice on disposal can be provided 
  • insect and rodent nuisances

Do you want to report a nuisance or public health matter?

Please contact our Environmental Health team.

The action we take will depend on whether or not a statutory nuisance exists.


Statutory nuisance

If the situation complained of is harmful or interfering with the comfort and enjoyment of a neighbour's property it would be classed as a statutory nuisance. Rubbish such as food waste would come into this category as it could attract rats to an area.

Bricks or furniture would not constitute a statutory nuisance. 

Informal letter: If an officer believes a statutory nuisance does not exist, an informal letter may be sent to the owner/occupier of the land/property. This letter will inform them that a complaint has been made and recommend any action we believe may be necessary.

Abatement notice and prosecution:  If an officer believes that a statutory nuisance exists, a formal document called an abatement notice will be served on the person responsible or occupier/owner of the land/property.

This notice will detail the works that are required to prevent or minimise the nuisance. If the notice is not complied with, the Council can carry out any necessary works and recover all the costs incurred in court. The person served with the notice can also be prosecuted if the notice is not complied with.


Light Pollution

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 has made light pollution a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which came into force on 6 April 2006.

This does not apply to airports, harbours, railways, tramways, bus stations, public service vehicle operating centres, goods vehicle operating centres, lighthouses or prisons.

The light pollution that may be caused by floodlights from nearby premises or from domestic security lights is an increasing cause of complaint.

Often the owner of the lighting equipment is unaware it is causing a problem and a diplomatic approach may be all that is needed to resolve the matter. In most cases all that is required is the proper alignment of fixings, sensors, lights and shielding accessories, or replacement by a lower wattage light.

If you feel that light is causing a nuisance please and the problemis from a commercial presmises then contact our Pollution Team. If the problem is from a residential premises then please contact our  Anti-Social Behaviour Team.


Odour and Dust Nuisance

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to investigate complaints of statutory nuisance, including "dust, steam, smell or other effluvia" arising from industrial/commercial premises and "fumes or gases" emitted from residential dwellings.

If you feel that odour or dust is causing a nuisance please contact our Environmental Health Team

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