Statutory Nuisance

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Statutory Nuisance

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires Cornwall Council to take reasonable steps to investigate. If appropriate, we will take formal action if there is a justified complaint of statutory nuisance.

Things we can investigate to determine if they are prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance are : 

  • Any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. This does not apply to:
    • premises occupied by the Crown for military or Ministry of Defence purposes
    • Smoke emitted from the chimney of a house within a smoke control area
    • dark smoke from the chimney of a building or of a furnace attached to a building or installed in any land
    • smoke from a railway locomotive steam engine
    • dark smoke from any industrial or trade premises
  • Fumes or gases emitted from private premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Any dust, steam, smell or other vapour arising on industrial, trade or business premises that is prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Any animal kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Any insects coming from industrial, trade or business premises that are prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Noise (except that from aircraft other than model aircraft) emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Noise that is prejudicial to health or a nuisance and is emitted from or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street. This does not include noise made by:
    • traffic
    • any military force
    • political demonstration or demonstration supporting or opposing a cause or campaign
  • Any other matter declared by any enactment to be a statutory nuisance.

The above list may not be exhaustive. For the Local Authority to take formal action they must be satisfied that a statutory nuisance is either in existence or likely to occur. There are tests and case law that are taken into consideration when assessing a statutory nuisance.

What we cannot deal with

  • Where the location/source of nuisance is not known
  • Odour complaints from domestic properties
  • Complaints regarding cat's fouling
  • People spraying weedkiller
  • Complaints regarding car exhausts or traffic
  • People smoking in their property
  • Reasonable living activities

Many people are completely unaware of the effect that certain activities may have on their neighbours. They might well act in a more responsible and considerate way if the facts are politely brought to their attention. A nuisance would be a significant and unreasonable interference that affects you in a significant and unreasonable way when at your home or place of work. It is more than 'annoyance' or 'eyesore'.

Many other factors determine whether or not something can be considered a statutory nuisance. These can include:

  • The time of the day
  • Your location or character of neighbourhood for example urban or rural area
  • The duration, regularity and severity of the problem

A statutory nuisance may be caused by many activities including:

  • the state of premises
  • smoke from premises
  • fumes or gases from premises
  • accumulations or deposits
  • animals kept in such a place or manner and noise

In addition a statutory nuisance can also be caused by:

  • dust
  • steam
  • smell or other vapour arising on industrial, trade or business premises.

We will take formal action if we consider the problem to be either prejudicial to health or a nuisance.

If satisfied that a complaint of statutory nuisance is justified, an Abatement must be served upon the person responsible, occupier or owner of the premises (as appropriate). This requires that the nuisance be abated. Failure to comply with an Abatement is an offence and legal proceedings may result.  We would write to the person responsible and bring the matters to their attention. This is to attempt to resolve the issue. We would also ask you to keep a diary (which we would send to you) of any nuisance that is affecting you.  We would also send a leaflet regarding statutory nuisance for information.

In certain circumstances Environmental Protection are not able to take formal action. This is because it may be:

  • not sufficiently bad to constitute a statutory nuisance
  • not in the public interest for the Council to take legal action or other such reason.

You may be able to take private action against the person causing the problem.

Statutory Nuisance Notices served

Notices were served under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This list covers the last three financial years from 2017 and Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 of 2020-2021.

These notices were served following complaints made to the Council by members of the public. Where the Council determines the nuisance activity to be substantiated the Council serves notice on those creating the nuisance directing them to abate the nuisance.

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