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Introduction to this document

Guidance note - statutory nuisance - enforcement

If you’re responsible for causing a statutory nuisance, you’re likely to receive much interest from your local authority environmental health department. Our guidance document identifies how you should deal with the situation.

Negative impact

Councils must investigate complaints about issues which could be a statutory nuisance (a nuisance covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990). Issues that can be a statutory nuisance include: noise; smoke; dust; smells; artificial light; insect infestations; and accumulations or deposits on premises, e.g. piles of rubbish.

Preventative action

If you’re deemed to be creating a statutory nuisance, the council will not let you continue. An environmental health officer (EHO) will force you to either stop what you’re doing completely or make suitable and sufficient changes to the process etc., to stop any further nuisance from being created.

In some instances the inspector will deal with this in a low-key manner, e.g. through a verbal instruction. However, in most cases they will issue a formal abatement notice (AN). This is effectively a stop notice which forces you to act. If you fail to do so, it becomes the first step in the formal enforcement action process.

How to deal with this

To ensure your staff are well placed to deal with an AN, we have produced a Guidance Note - Statutory Nuisance - Enforcement.

In summary, this document runs through the enforcement process, what staff can expect from the EHO and some pointers on what to do to stay on the right side of the law.

Why you have notice

The first part of our guidance document spells out why a notice will be issued and what is likely to be required of you.

Next, the guidance covers the process of issuing a notice. It explains that it can be served on either those responsible for creating the nuisance or on the premises owner/occupier.

Warning. As our guidance suggests, you must not ignore an AN. Doing so significantly increases the likelihood of prosecution. If you comply with the notice, you should avoid further action.