A statutory nuisance in terms of pollution can include emissions of smoke, fumes or gases, dust, steam and smell as well as noise. The nuisance must be coming from a premises and must materially affect the use or enjoyment of other surrounding premises.
Typical complaints are smoke and ash from garden bonfires, smoking chimneys, dust from building and demolition activity and cooking smells from restaurants. Legislation does not allow us to deal with complaints of smells arising from domestic premises.
We will investigate complaints to assess the situation and or ask the complainant to monitor the problem. If we find a statutory nuisance is being, or is likely to be caused, we will serve an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It will require the person responsible, occupier or owner of the premises (as appropriate) to stop the nuisance. Failure to comply with an abatement notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result.
If you would like more information on odours/smells or other statutory nuisances contact us. Here are some useful links:
Formal notices that we are able to serve in respect of noise nuisance
Under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 we are able to serve an abatement notice. A noise abatement notice requires that the noise reduces or stops by prohibiting its occurrence or recurrence. It can also require a person to carry out works and/or take other steps to stop the noise nuisance, such as seizing the noise-making equipment. Breaches of the notice can incur a fine of up to £5,000.
An abatement notice cannot always be served following an initial visit by an officer. Depending on the type of noise nuisance, it may take several weeks; you will be advised by the officer dealing with your case of expected timeframes to resolve the problem.
Appealing an abatement notice
If served with a notice it can be appealed within 21 days of service.
Grounds of appeal are set out in the Statutory Nuisance Appeals Regulations and they include the following -
- That the abatement notice is not justified, ie there is no nuisance.
- That there has been a serious informality defect or error in the notice.
- That the authority has refused unreasonably to accept compliance with alternative requirements.
- That the requirements of the notice are unreasonable in character or extent, or are unnecessary.
- That the time(s) for compliance are not sufficient.
- That for most nuisances created on industrial trade or business premises/land that the best practicable means were used to prevent or counter-act the effects of the nuisance.
- That the requirements of the notice are more onerous than notices previously served under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
- That the notice should have been served on someone else instead.
- That the notice should have been served on someone else in addition.
Fixed penalty notice
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 amended the Noise Act 1996 and enables local authorities in England and Wales to tackle night time noise emitted from dwellings and gardens between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
If an officer is satisfied that noise exceeds the permitted level, a warning notice may be served on the person responsible. If the warning is ignored, the offender becomes liable for prosecution (which if successful carries a fine of up to £1,000. However, we may issue a fixed penalty notice (which must be paid within 14 days and in which case no further action will be taken). Where the noise being complained about continues after a warning notice has been issued, we may enter the dwelling and confiscate the noise making equipment (obstructing confiscation carries a fine of up to £1,000).
An extension of the Noise Act came into force in February 2008, enabling local authorities in England and Wales to tackle night time noise from licensed premises.
Appealing a fixed penalty notice
There is no right of appeal when issued a fixed penalty notice. If you believe that the notice has been issued in error or that due process was not followed, you have the right to state your case at the magistrates court - the details of which are provided on the fixed penalty notice.