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Environmental nuisance

This content applies to England

Legal remedies available in cases of environmental nuisance.

Problems relating to statutory nuisances may be part of a pattern of antisocial behaviour, and/or harassment that is intended to force the occupier to leave.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

This Act gives local authorities a duty to investigate complaints and deal with housing conditions that they consider a statutory nuisance.[1] The environmental health department normally carries out this duty. It may be used to tackle problems such as excessive noise, the accumulation of rubbish, smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises. The usual enforcement procedure starts with the service of an abatement notice on the person responsible for the statutory nuisance.

For more information about noise nuisance, see the section on Noise. The section on the Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides information about using the Act to tackle other forms of statutory nuisance.

Noise Act 1996

This Act only applies where local authorities have adopted its provisions. Advisers will need to check whether it is in force in their area. Under this legislation, local authorities have a duty to investigate complaints of excessive noise being emitted from any dwelling between 11pm and 7am.[2] If an offence is committed, the authority has the power to issue a warning notice.[3] Non-compliance with such a notice is punishable by a fine,[4] and can also lead to seizure of noise-making equipment, such as stereos.[5]

[1] para 2, Sch.3 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

[2] s.2 Noise Act 1996.

[3] s.3 Noise Act 1996.

[4] s.4 Noise Act 1996.

[5] s.10 Noise Act 1996.

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