General environmental nuisance
The Environmental Protection Department has a statutory duty to investigate all complaints relating to alleged nuisances. Matters considered to be a statutory nuisance are premises in such a condition as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance, smoke, fumes or gases emitted from premises.
Any dust steam or smell or any other effluvia, accumulations or deposit and animals kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health, or a statutory nuisance.
Action which can be taken by the council
Where the council is satisfied that a Statutory Nuisance exists as defined above, they shall serve an Abatement Notice under section 80 of the EPA 1990. Fines on summary prosecution for owners of residential properties, up to a maximum of £5,000 and/or three months imprisonment or both.
For commercial premises, up to a maximum of £20,000 and or three months imprisonment or both.
High court action
In certain circumstances, depending on the severity of the case, the council can apply to the High Court for an Injunction which is a restraining order requiring the owner to prohibit from doing something or requiring the owner to execute the works specified in order to abate the statutory nuisance.
An individual can take his/her own private action under section 82 of the EPA 1990 upon sworn information given in writing to a local magistrate. The evidence must be clear, concise and usually be supplemented by an expert witness in the particular subject of the nuisance specified.
An individual can take his/her own private action in connection with a private nuisance. That is something which arises or is generated on one premise and interferes with the quiet enjoyment of an adjoining owner of another property for a substantial period. Public nuisance A public nuisance is something, which arises or is generated on one premise and which materially affects the comfort and quality of life members of the public.
To make a complaint about general nuisances write, telephone, e-mail or visit your local environmental health officer.