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Nuisance is defined as ‘an unlawful interference with a person’s use, enjoyment or rights in connection with their property or land’ or something which is prejudicial to health. The interference also needs to be substantial and is more than an annoyance. A statutory nuisance is something that we can investigate and if found we can take legal action.

Nuisances may be:

  • Noise (except aircraft)
  • Artificial light 
  • Odour
  • Insects
  • Animals
  • Smoke
  • Dust, steam or smells from commercial premises
  • Fumes or gases
  • Accumulation or deposit

We cannot provide an instant remedy against most nuisance complaints as they need to be fully investigated and evidence gathered. We consider time, duration, extent of the nuisance and degree of unreasonableness as factors.

We also have to judge it on the behaviour of the average person. A statutory nuisance needs to occur for some length of time, or with some frequency. "One-off" occurrences are much less likely to be regarded as a statutory nuisances.

The majority of nuisance complaints are resolved informally and the nuisance can be stopped or reduced to more acceptable levels without any formal action required.

I am affected by one of these nuisances, what do I do?

What we are not able to investigate?

There are something's that we are unable to investigate as they are outside the scope of the law, these include:

  • Children playing
  • Babies crying
  • Air craft noise (except model aircraft)
  • Issues due to poor sound insulation between properties
  • Ordinary domestic living noises ie washing machines
  • Odour from people smoking cigarettes
  • Road traffic noise

We are also not able to take into account special health conditions a person has or lifestyle issues such as needing to sleep in the daytime due to night shift working patterns.


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Fact sheet - Noise nuisance


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Fact sheet - Barking dogs


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