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Nuisance is defined as "an unlawful interference with a person's use or enjoyment of land or of some right over, or in connection with it".

Nuisance takes into account the following factors:

  • how often it happens
  • volume
  • intensity
  • time of day
  • locality
  • type of event
  • duration of an event
  • motive and sensitivity of the complainant

In certain circumstances noise and vibration, smoke, light, accumulations of rubbish, insects and animals, fumes, dust and smells could all be a nuisance. 

How can I complain?

Talk to the person causing the problem first to try and sort things out. This helps to keep things amicable. If this does not work you can report the matter to us and one of our officers will investigate.

Where we are satisfied that a nuisance exists we will take action to make sure the nuisance is stopped.  

Our leaflet 'A Guide to Statutory Nuisance' explains nuisance and our investigation procedure in more detail. It also explains how you can take private nuisance action. Please contact us if you would like a copy.    

You can phone us on 01539 733 333 or report problems online using our forms: 

Report a noise complaint

Report a smell complaint

Report a smoke complaint

If you are a tenant or you are aware that the property where the nuisance is coming from is owned by a landlord then you should also contact that landlord and explain the problem.

To complain about noise from low flying jets telephone RAF Liaison Officer at Penrith on 01768 891 391. 

General aircraft noise is dealt with by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Advice on nuisance


Is your dog barking too much?

Light Pollution

Using Wood and Coal for Home Heating

Garden Bonfires

Cockerels (PDF/363KB/2 pages)

Burglar Alarms (PDF/279KB/1 page) 

Nuisance and planning 

The Environmental Protection Group is consulted on planning applications which might cause a nuisance.

If you have concerns about a development tell the relevant planning authority.

If you are a developer and need to submit environmental information speak to us before submitting a planning application. This will help make sure you give us the correct information.

Nuisance and pests

It is the responsibility of landowners and occupiers to ensure that rats and mice are controlled on their property and land.  Where this is not done, we can use our powers to enforce land owners and occupiers to take action and control vermin.  There is further information on our Pests webpage

Nuisance and licensing

The Environmental Protection Group is consulted on licensing applications. 

Conditions can be requested to prevent noise nuisance.