Statutory nuisances explained

The Council is legally bound by specific legislation to investigate nuisance complaints. The Council is limited by this legislation as to what we can and can't do in relation to investigating a nuisance.

Defining a statutory nuisance

There is no set definition of the term “nuisance”, but over many years and hundreds of cases the Courts have considered what constitutes a nuisance, which has helped shape an objective test that can be followed.

When Council officers are considering if something is a statutory nuisance or not, they are applying the objective standards set out by legal precedent rather than what someone might consider to be a “nuisance” or “annoyance” in everyday language. Therefore some things a resident may feel is an annoyance or a nuisance may unfortunately not be seen as one in the eyes of the law. Usually for a nuisance to exist it would be:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health or be likely to injure health

Therefore to help manage our residents expectations and for general information we strongly recommend you consider visiting the link below to the government website that explains nuisances further:

Examples of things that can't be or have been found not to constitute a nuisance:

  • A person carrying out DIY during the day and at weekends over a few weeks.
  • Noise from children playing in their garden.
  • A odour or smell coming from a domestic property.
  • Normal noise from aircraft, roads or railways. 
  • A party which happened just a couple times a year and finished at a reasonable time in the evening.
  • Smoke and noise from a bonfire or fireworks on bonfire night.
  • A bonfire that a neighbour has from time to time and isn't giving rise to dark smoke.
  • Footsteps, talking, babies crying or television noise (non excessive) from a neighbouring property that could be heard due to poor/substandard sound insulation between the properties.

Reporting nuisances online is our preferred reporting medium as we can clearly and concisely get the relevant information we require to look further into your complaint further. Please note that should we be able to take your complaint further to the investigation phase, we will likely write to both yourself and the address you have complained about in order to bring the matter to their attention. In addition, you will likely be required to fill in diary sheet records usually for a minimum of two weeks which will record when and how the alleged nuisance is effecting you and if required these diary sheets may be presented in a court of law in the future.

Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 lists the issues that can be dealt with as statutory nuisances. 

Below are links to the various types of nuisances we have powers to investigate. The links will take you to a dedicated page providing you with more information and a facility to report a nuisance by clicking on our report it button.