The Environmental Protection Act 1990, details sources of nuisance that can be a statutory nuisance under section 79 of that Act. These include noise, smoke, odour, dust, fumes, accumulations and deposits, light, insects and premises. Where the investigation undertaken determines that there is a statutory nuisance, action will be taken by the Local Authority to remedy the situation. However, as an individual, you are entitled to take the matter directly to the Magistrates Court under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This action can be taken by yourself at any time.
TAKING YOUR OWN ACTION UNDER SECTION 82 OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990
Taking Private Action
It is beneficial if any dispute with neighbour’s etc. can be resolved in a friendly manner. They may not be aware that their actions are causing nuisance or the cause for complaint may not be under their control. A personal approach can sometimes obtain the desired result, or, if you feel wary of approaching them personally, a polite letter may resolve the problem. On occasions, such an approach will result in improvements and even if it fails, it will help to show to the courts that you have acted reasonably.
With any type of statutory nuisance action it will be necessary to show to the Courts that the issue unduly interferes with your comfort and convenience.
The Courts will balance your right to quiet enjoyment of your property with the right of the other party to use their premises in a normal manner. It is unlikely that the courts would require complete silence, as living in any residential area requires a degree of tolerance towards noise, but you do not have to experience unreasonable levels. When deciding what is an unreasonable level the Courts will look at the level and nature of the noise, together with its frequency, duration and the times and days the noise occurs. For example, a shift worker who has to sleep during the day, a home worker who needs complete silence to work etc., might be unlikely to be classified as average persons when deciding upon noise nuisance.
Taking Your Own Action
Taking your legal action is fairly straightforward and can be taken in easy steps, you can download the advice guide by clicking here (pdf 173KB). Many people have used this legal action, without the need of a solicitor. You can represent yourself during the court hearings if you are able and feel confident enough. The procedure is not difficult and advice is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Magistrates Courts. You may also wish to approach your household insurance company, especially if you have legal cover, or your trade union.