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Statutory Nuisance and other matters

Examples of statutory nuisance allegations that can be investigated by the Council are outlined under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

For a matter to count as a statutory nuisance it must demonstrate to be ‘prejudicial to health or a nuisance’. Therefore the matter must be cross a property boundary and demonstrate 1 or both of the following from the assessment: 

  • Injure health or be likely to injure health
  • Unreasonably and substantially interfere with and affect the use or enjoyment of someone else’s home or other premises

This assessment is made through the gathering of evidence, and must demonstrate it meets the tests for statutory nuisance in correspondence with years of legal judgements. Sensitivities of an individual cannot be taken in account and the findings must satisfy whether the matter would cause a statutory nuisance to the average person. Statutory regime does not deal with the harm to property. 

When satisfied a statutory nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur an Abatement Notice will be served onto the person responsible. This may require the person or company to: halt the activity, limit it to certain time frames, or list actions to limit the issue including improvement works in a given time period. It does not necessarily mean an activity may completely halt but that the impact of nuisance has been reduced to a reasonable level. An Abatement Notice may be appealed against to a Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of the Abatement Notice being served.

A list of Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notices served under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 are available at the Council. 

Or alternatively there is common law for private nuisance allegations, these proceedings can be taken by the individual suffering with a legal interest in the affected land.

For further information on anti-social behaviour please see: Community advice and safety (

Other matters

Accumulation(s) of filthy or rotting putrescible waste inside a property or garden can be investigated. 

Overgrown gardens, rubble and general visual eyesores cannot be investigated under statutory nuisance provisions.  Environmental Health can investigate if the waste is causing an odour or is attracting vermin or flies.  

In situations where there are no rats or flies being attracted to the location and there is a detrimental impact on the amenity of the area or quality of life on the community there are provisions via Planning Enforcement .

Before complainining to  Planning Enforcement regarding high hedges, please visit UK.GOV - High Hedges: complaining to the Council.

For invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed please see the webpage for more information: How to stop Japanese knotweed from spreading . Management is the responsibility of the landowner and is not necessary to report presence but it is important that it is controlled. 

Where there are accumulations of dog fouling on a private garden or land, and is likely to cause odour and fly issues, residents can take private legal action. Environmental Health does not routinely investigate complaints made about dog fouling in private gardens. Different laws apply to fouling in public places. Subject to priorities, Environmental Health may investigate and this may involve revisits and a diary sheet, to establish if a statutory nuisance exists.  

Insects may become a statutory nuisance when traceable to a commercial activity and there is a significant increase in numbers, which impacts with the comfort and enjoyment of another's home. Statutory Nuisance legislation only covers insects emanating from a trade or business premises and not a domestic property. 

There are no laws to stop a person from feeding wild birds. We may be able to take action in significant and excessive cases where rotten food waste is accumulating or that such bird feeding is the cause of an infestation of rats or mice. Contact your Housing Association Provider or Landlord in the first instance as such behaviours may be covered within tenancy agreement rules.

Where birds nest and/or roost this may cause nuisance by their droppings or noise. The Council has no legal duty to control birds. All birds are protected by law, and guidance on non-lethal controls from proofing to detterrents are available online: RSPB . External bird control services may be available online: BPCA

A pest control service for domestic and commercial premises is available, find out how we may be able to help you: Pest control


Not every hazard or deficiency in a property is dealt with under the Housing Act 2004. Under nuisance provisions the assessment is a complete condition of the premises that is impacting a neighbouring premises such as neighbouring damp affecting your premises. A statutory nuisance may evolve from an impact of a number of defects or 1 defect. If the premises are likely to affect the health of the occupant, voluntary or formal action could be used to remedy the matter.

A pest control service for domestic and commercial premises is available find out how we may be able to help you: Pest control (

Asbestos could also be considered a nuisance if disturbed and not in a good condition. If you are on a building site, contact the Health and Safety Executive .

Should the assessment demonstrate a statutory nuisance exists due to the structure of the premises, action will be taken against the owner(s) or person responsible for the statutory nuisance. Or alternatively the Council may carry out the works in default and charge those responsible.

Owners of empty properties should ensure that their empty property is kept secure and presentable. Please contact us if there is an issue with an empty property in your area.

Where there is a dangerous structure please notify our Building Control Team .

Where a property has a considerable amount of faecal waste, food waste, clothing, furniture or infestations are present it may be identified as ‘filthy or verminous’ under public health legislation. 

Some properties may also have a considerable number of stored items which can then be identified as ‘hoarding’ and in some instances can present a fire risk.  

If you have any concerns that a friend or relative may have a significant hoarding problem, their General Practitioner (GP) should be contacted.

If you are in a position to speak with the occupier you should check if they are okay and in need of help. Family members, their GP or Adult Social Care Services may be able to help. 

If you are unable to speak to the person or are being affected please contact us and provide as much information as possible about the person concerned.

We will initially visit yourself and depending on the situation the property for assessment. Often a partnership approach is required working with partners in Adult Social Care, Fire Service and partners. Depending on findings, pest control treatment, cleaning and removal of waste may be asked or formal action may take place to require the works to happen. Failure to comply may result in works in default with a contractor to be arranged and costs to be recovered.

After reading the guidance, and you wish to report an alleged filthy or verminous property or concerns regarding hoarding please contact us .

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