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Statutory nuisance

A nuisance is something which is unreasonable and causes substantial interference in the use and enjoyment of a person's property. It is much more than just an annoyance or being aware of something. To fall within the definition of statutory nuisance, an activity needs to be, or likely to be:

  • a nuisance (taking into account a number of factors such as the time of day/night, how long it lasts, how often it happens, whether it's socially acceptable, the surrounding environment etc
  • posing a threat to health

A statutory nuisance may arise in the form of;

  • Smoke, fumes or gases:: emitted from premises, or from a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street and bonfires
  • Odour, dust and steam: from industrial, trade or business premises
  • Noise: coming from premises, or from a vehicle, machinery or equipment in the street
  • Light: from badly adjusted security lights or floodlights
  • Insects: from any industrial, trade or business premises
  • The physical state of any premises: to be in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Accumulations: anything which could cause a nuisance or present a health risk for humans, for example an accumulation of rotting food which attracts rats or mice

Statutory nuisances tend to be property based issues. Therefore an issue which disturbed you whilst walking on a public footpath, or whilst you were a visitor somewhere, could not be a statutory nuisance to you and cannot be investigated.

Issues which are not covered by statutory nuisance law include:

  • Aircraft Noise
  • Odour from domestic kitchens
  • Road traffic noise
  • Children playing
  • Neighbours arguing
  • A one off party

Before you report a problem to us, try to talk to the person responsible. They might not realise they're causing a problem.

Resolving neighbour disputes

If your complaint is regarding a social landlord property, please contact your housing provider in the first instance.

Make a complaint

What we need from you

In order to fully investigate complaints of nuisance we need you to co-operate with us. We might ask you to:

  • Record incidents on log sheets which are provided by us
  • Access your property to monitor the nuisance
  • Provide a witness statement and appear as a council witness in any court action which may result from our investigation.

We don't investigate anonymous complaints. We won't reveal your identity during our initial investigations, but it may be necessary to present your statement in court should the matter require a prosecution.

Please be aware that if your complaint goes on to a formal investigation stage, it may be registered against your property. This then has to be declared if and when you come to sell it.

In instances where the Council is unable to act on your behalf, you may be able to take private action

To report a problem contact our City and neighbourhood team.

If you would link further information you might find the links below useful:

Noise nuisances: how councils deal with complaints

How to resolve neighbour disputes

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