Nuisance

 image representing nuisance

The Council receives many complaints about problems that people think of as a nuisance. Although people think of 'nuisance' as something that affects them in a negative way, it is a term that the Council must interpret carefully in each case. For a fuller description see Statutory nuisance.

Particular problems that come under the heading of nuisance are described, and you can find more general information on the Defra website Defra: Nuisance|External link.

General nuisance procedure

If you think you are being affected by a nuisance you can take some steps yourself, and if that fails you can contact the Council.

Before you contact the Council

The best way to deal with most nuisance complaints is to talk to the person responsible, if it is possible. They may be unaware they are causing you a problem and often if you approach them in a reasonable manner they will resolve the problem.

Advice on how to approach your neighbour is included in our leaflet Dealing with neighbour noise [PDF file 92KB]|PDF file. Whilst this advice concentrates on neighbour noise you can adapt it to apply to any kind of nuisance.

How we deal with nuisance complaints

We will investigate all complaints in relation to statutory nuisances and the way in which we deal with your complaint will depend on the type and circumstances of the complaint.

In some circumstances we may send letters to both the source and the complainant and this often resolves the matter. If the problem persists we may ask you to keep a diary of further incidents so we can establish whether the complaint amounts to a statutory nuisance. Alternatively we may visit the source of the problem in the first instance with a view to trying to determine the source of the problem and make recommendations as to how to resolve it.

Irrespective of how we investigate the nuisance complaint we try to inform the person responsible for the alleged problem as soon as possible in order to give them the opportunity to resolve the matter prior to considering further action.

If the problem is not resolved in the initial stages of the investigation and a statutory nuisance exists an abatement notice will be served on whoever is responsible for the nuisance. Breach of an abatement notice is a criminal offence and can result in prosecution in the magistrates’ court.

Types of 'nuisance'

Accumulations of waste

The Council deals with over 1,200 complaints per year about accumulations of waste on private land, including waste in gardens and yards. Unsuitable waste storage facilities also give rise to problems. For more information see .

To complain about accumulations of waste contact Environmental Health.


Animals

In general people are allowed to keep pet animals as long as they do not cause a statutory nuisance or a health hazard to people around them. Pet owners have a duty to ensure their pets are kept in such a way that they do not interfere with their neighbour's enjoyment of their homes. Animals that are not kept in suitable conditions can cause problems in relation to noise, odour and waste.

We try to resolve problems by offering help and advice but in circumstances where we determine there is a statutory nuisance we can use the powers available in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If you wish to make a complaint about a nuisance caused by animals contact Environmental Health.


Artificial light

Light pollution is best described as artificial light that is allowed to illuminate or pollute areas not intended to be lit. If your neighbour or a business has installed lighting that is causing you problems when in use, such as excessively bright illumination of your living room or bedroom for example, we may be able to help.

Whilst street lighting is not specifically exempt by light nuisance law it is unlikely to constitute an artificial light statutory nuisance because it is not usually found on premises or property as mentioned in the legislation.

If you wish to make a complaint about a light nuisance problem contact Environmental Health.

For more helpful information visit Light pollution|External link.


Dust

Dust can come from many sources including construction and demolition sites, the cleaning of buildings, quarrying activities and waste handling facilities.

If you are suffering from a dust nuisance caused by another person's activities we may be able to help. Before we could consider formal action we would have to prove that a nuisance was being caused, and in most cases we would first speak to the person generating the dust.

If you wish to make a complaint about a dust problem contact Environmental Health.


Insects

Insects can become a statutory nuisance when they can be traced to a commercial activity and they interfere with the comfort and enjoyment of someone's home. Flies can also carry diseases and it is important to ensure that any significant increase in their numbers is prevented.

The legislation available to the Council only relates to insects emanating from certain trade or business premises and does not apply where the source of the problem is a domestic property. Finding the source of the insects can sometimes be a difficult and lengthy process. The nuisance provision does not apply to insects from domestic premises or to many of the insects listed in Schedule 5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. There are also exemptions for certain types of land, including arable land, ponds, lakes, reed beds, orchards and nurseries.

If you wish to make a complaint about nuisance insects contact Environmental Health.

See also Pest control.


Noise and anti-social behaviour

Noise is one of the commonest causes of complaint to Environmental Health.

See Noise and antisocial behaviour.


Odour

Some odours can cause offence due to their nature, strength or persistence. The ability of odours to be carried long distances in the air means that odour can affect a large number of people over a wide area. How people are affected will depend on their sense of smell and their tolerance to the odour in question, and response to odour varies greatly between people.

Some common sources of odour are agriculture, some industrial processes, domestic premises, animals and accumulations of rubbish.

If you wish to make a complaint about odour contact Environmental Health.


Properties in disrepair, and empty and derelict properties

We deal with problems associated with properties which are in a poor state of repair and which affect adjacent properties. An example would be a leaking roof or gutter in an adjacent property that is causing dampness problems in your house.

We also deal with problems associated with unsatisfactory living conditions which can affect the occupants of a property or adjacent properties. You can find more information about this here.

The Council is also promoting a range of initiatives and projects to improve and regenerate privately owned housing in Calderdale. For more information, see: Empty homes and area improvements.


Smoke

The Council receives complaints about smoke from sources such as garden bonfires, open burning at commercial and industrial sites and domestic and industrial chimneys. We use different enforcement powers to deal with smoke depending on the circumstances.

See Smoke pollution.

Last Updated: 21/11/2016