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What is a statutory nuisance

We can investigate complaints of statutory nuisance. This could include noise, smoke, fumes, light, insects, dust and accumulations of rubbish.

The Environmental Act 1990; law on statutory nuisance

There are some things that are unlikely to be a nuisance such as a one-off party, arguing neighbours, a baby crying or a dog barking occasionally.

Also, we have no control over:

  • road traffic or engine noise on a public highway
  • people shouting or screaming on a public road or footpath
  • dust, steam or smells from a railway locomotive steam engine
  • air traffic noise such as low flying jets can be reported to the RAF Liaison Officer on 01768 891 391. General aircraft noise is dealt with by the Civil Aviation Authority.

There is no maximum noise limit and we will take into account the:

  • time (either day or night)
  • duration
  • frequency of occurrence
  • type of noise
  • intensity
  • social acceptance (such as church bells or fireworks on Bonfire Night)
  • location
  • motive for the noise

What action can you take if you think something is a nuisance

In the first instance it’s best to try and contact the person responsible for the nuisance directly, either by letter or by knocking on their door. They may be unaware of the problem and might take action voluntarily to prevent the nuisance.

If this doesn’t work you can contact us and we will take steps to reasonably investigate the complaint. If you don’t want to involve us, or if we can't take action, you can take action privately. You can contact us for advice on how to do this.

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 or housing association, then you should also contact that landlord and explain the problem.

If we investigate and conclude something is not a nuisance, we will also consider whether action can be taken for antisocial behaviour under a Community Protection Notice.

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.

Further information about pest control 

Nuisance and licensing

The Environmental Protection Group is consulted on licensing applications. Conditions can be requested to prevent noise nuisance.

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