What counts as a nuisance?

Nuisances include:

  • noise (except aircraft)
  • artificial light
  • odour
  • insects
  • animals
  • smoke (bonfire advice)
  • dust, steam or smells from commercial premises
  • fumes or gases
  • accumulation or deposit

What can’t you investigate?

There are some things that we can’t investigate as they’re outside the scope of the law.

These include:

  • children playing
  • babies crying
  • aircraft noise (except model aircraft)
  • issues due to poor sound insulation
  • ordinary domestic living noises, eg washing machines
  • cigarette smoke
  • road traffic noise
  • street lights

What should I do if I’m affected by a nuisance?

  1. Speak to the person causing the nuisance – the majority of complaints can be resolved informally. If you don’t want to speak to your neighbour, consider writing them a letter. We have created letter templates to help you
  2. If you know that the person who is creating the nuisance has a social landlord, please make contact with the landlord.  We have an agreement with the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust that they will be the organisation who leads on issues where their tenant may be causing a problem. For more information visit
  3. Use a mediator – if the person won’t cooperate, you can use an independent third party like Mediation Buckinghamshire
  4. Keep a record of the nuisance – this will help us to investigate. You can download diary sheet
  5. If you’ve tried all of the above but the issue is not resolved, you can make a complaint by contacting us
  6. Take the problem to a magistrates’ court– if we can’t secure sufficient evidence, you can take the matter to court yourself

More information

The National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection (NSCA)
Friends of the Earth
General Aviation Awareness Council
Noise Abatement Society


Noise nuisance
Barking dogs
How we investigate nuisance
Dealing with Agricultural Smells