Nuisance

Image representing nuisance

Do you feel you are experiencing a nuisance that is significant enough to complaint about? Please note that the Council can only investigate cases where a  Statutory nuisances has been identified.

There is no simple definition of Statutory Nuisance. Before you contact the Council, consider the following statements:

  • Does the nuisance pose a threat to health, or have a significant effect on you or your premises? It must be more than just an annoyance or irritation.
  • Has the nuisance occurred for a lengthy period of time, or frequently? "One-off" occurrences are less likely to be regarded as Statutory Nuisances.

 

Types of nuisance:

Abandoned vehicles

Abandoned vehicles are an eyesore and can encourage vandalism and arson, endangering lives, property and the environment.

The Council has a duty to remove abandoned vehicles from the highway and other public areas.

For more information, see: Abandoned vehicles .

 

Accumulations of waste

Accumulations of waste and specifically messy gardens can be very distressing to live near however the Council only have powers to enforce a resolution to the problem if:

  • The waste poses a threat to health (Large accumulations of rotting or hazardous waste)
  • The waste has a significant effect on you or your premises. (Blocking access or light)
  • Has been present for some time (More than 2 weeks)

What you can do

  • Sometimes neighbour waste problems can be resolved by having a polite word with or writing to your neighbour. They may be completely unaware they are causing a problem, or not realise how their waste is affecting you. There are some useful documents below:
    1. PDFWaste accumulation - Letter to neighbour [PDF 38KB]
    2. DOCWaste accumulation - Letter to neighbour [DOC 25KB]
  • If the issue persist after you have raised the issue with your neighbour or if you are unable to make contact with the owner of the waste and it meets one or more of the criteria above you can log a complaint with the Council.

Logging a Complaint

In order to effectively investigate a complaint the Council requires the following details:

  • The precise location of the waste. Full Address, Postcode, Front /Back/Side of Property
  • Perceived risk to complainant: Blocking Access to property, Attracting pests, Smell.
  • A photo. The addition of a photo to your complaint will in most cases enable the officer to quickly access the action required without the need for a visit. This means that if your complaint is considered justified formal action can be taken against the alleged offender and your issue resolved more efficiently.

To log a complaint submit an email to us  with the above details.

What we will do

  • Upon Receipt of your Complaint we will assess the information provided and if we consider there is a justified complaint we will visit the person allegedly causing the problem. The purpose of the visit will be to outline the details of the complaint, require them to make arrangements to remove the waste and explain to them what further action we may take.
  • If a person fails to comply with the initial notice to remove we will issue a formal notice.
  • This process can take up to 2 Months however we will undertake the initial investigation within 7 days of you submitting your complaint if you have supplied a photo we will endeavour to respond within 48 hours of your initial complaint.

We are unable to take formal legal action purely on the basis of complaints received and in most circumstances it will be necessary for an officer to witness a statutory nuisance before being able to deal with it. It may also be necessary to take measurements and to carry out monitoring.

Where an officer is unable to witness a nuisance or is of the opinion that it does not amount to a statutory nuisance, an individual still has the right to make to make a complaint direct to a magistrates’ court under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 .

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 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 .

  • For information about animal health issues, including cruelty to pets, see: Animal cruelty.
  • For advice on issues relating to dogs, see: Dogs.

Antisocial behaviour

What is antisocial behaviour?

The legal definition of Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) is:

"Acting in a manner that causes (or is likely to cause) harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons, not of the same household."

For more information, see: Antisocial behaviour .

Artificial light

Light pollution is best described as artificial light that is allowed to illuminate or pollute areas not intended to be lit.

Has a neighbour or business has installed lighting, which is causing you problems when in use? This can be excessively bright illumination of your living room or bedroom for example. If so, 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. This is because it is not usually found on premises or property as mentioned in the legislation.

For more information, visit: Light pollution .

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. In most cases, we would first speak to the person generating the dust.

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 of 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.

See also Pest control.

Noise

For many people excessive noise can be a source of annoyance and stress which can interfere with everyday life, cause sleep disturbance and on occasions affect your health.

We understand how annoying noise can be and consequently we provide a range of services which can help resolve many of these noise problems.

What you can do

Sometimes neighbour noise problems can be resolved by having a polite word with or writing to your neighbour. They may be completely unaware they are causing a problem, or not realise how their noise is affecting you. There are some useful documents below:

  1. PDFSample letter to a neighbour [PDF 13KB]
  2. DOCSample letter to a neighbour [DOC 25KB]

Keep a 2 week noise diary. Download the diary here FileNoise Log . If you submit  your completed noise diary we will assess the log and if we consider there is a justified complaint we will visit the person allegedly causing the noise. The purpose of the visit will be to outline the details of the complaint, require them to moderate the noise and explain to them what further action we may take.

What we will do

  • Upon Receipt of your FileNoise Log we will assess the log and if we consider there is a justified complaint we will visit the person allegedly causing the noise. The purpose of the visit will be to outline the details of the complaint, require them to moderate the noise and explain to them what further action we may take.
  • If the noise persists we will attempt to monitor the noise to determine whether it amounts to a statutory nuisance by undertaking a maximum of 3 visits to your home or by installing noise monitoring equipment.
  • If we witness the noise and decide it is a statutory nuisance then we will serve a noise abatement notice on the person responsible.
  • If a person fails to comply with a noise abatement notice then we can consider seizing and confiscating any audio equipment and prosecuting offenders in the magistrates’ court.
  • This process can take up to 3 Months however we will undertake the initial investigation within 7 days of you submitting your Noise Diary.

You can submit your completed noise diary by email .

 

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. Response to odours varies greatly between people.

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

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 pollution

The Clean Air Act 1993 makes it an offence to emit smoke from chimneys and prohibits dark smoke from open burning in many circumstances. The aim of the Act is to prevent air pollution and the ill effects it can cause. The legislation can sometimes be difficult to interpret, but this page gives a simple guide to the parts most likely to be of relevance to residents and businesses.

Domestic chimneys

It is an offence to emit smoke from a domestic chimney in a smoke control area. The only exceptions are:

  • where the fuel being burned is shown to be an Authorised fuels (wood is not an authorised fuel); or
  • when fuel is burned on a fireplace that has been exempted from the regulations. This is known as an 'exempted fireplace' or ' Exempt appliances

If you have an exempted fireplace you must only burn the fuels it was designed to burn, as listed on the exemption order. You must maintain the fireplace in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.Map showing smoke control area

To find out if your property is in a smoke control area, just enter your Calderdale post code:

To find out which areas of Calderdale are subject to a smoke control order, visit: Environmental map

Industrial chimneys

Many industrial chimneys serving appliances will require chimney height approval from the Council. This is because a chimney must be high enough to allow the emissions to disperse and become effectively harmless. The criteria are set out in Section 14(2) of the Clean Air Act.

You can use this form to apply for chimney height approval for wood burning furnaces: PDFChimney height application form . [PDF 33KB] . Forms for other furnaces are available from Environmental Health on request.

There is no fee for making an application. Approval will not be given if the Council does not believe the proposed height will be sufficient to prevent pollution.

The Clean Air Act also requires that certain appliances be fitted with grit and dust arrestment. If you are not sure whether this will apply to your appliance you should contact Environmental Health.

An Environmental Permit may be required to burn certain wastes or use certain types of appliance. Manufacturers and suppliers will not automatically tell you if this is the case. You should check before purchasing a large appliance, to see if it does need a permit. Also, to check if the appliance is capable of meeting the operating requirements that an environmental permit will stipulate.

Open burning

Occasional garden bonfires are not prohibited by law. If you are planning to burn in the open, you should have consideration for the people who could be affected by the smoke. You should compost your garden waste, or take it to a recycling centre instead of burning it, if possible. See: Household waste recycling centres .

If you have to burn garden waste:

  • make sure the material is dry
  • feed the fire with small amounts at a time
  • be prepared to put out the fire with water if smoke is drifting across a road or affecting your neighbours.

Regular burning may lead to complaints to the Council. The Council has powers to take action against a anyone burning garden waste, if it is causing a nuisance.

Burning trade and industrial waste in the open may also lead to action by the Council or in some cases by the Environment Agency. Businesses must dispose of their waste in the proper manner and this rarely involves open burning. Advice aimed at businesses can be found at: Environment Agency waste advice .

If you would like to discuss a particular issue relating to smoke control, environmental permits or air quality please contact Environmental Health.

Report smoke

If you are affected by smoke from a bonfire or open burning you should consider speaking to the person doing the burning. In the first instance you can politely speak to the person responsible for the burning and let them know the smoke they are producing is causing you a problem. They may be unaware of the impact they are having on you.

The Council is unlikely to investigate one off instances of open burning or excessive smoke however if you have attempted to address the issue with your neighbour and the issue continues to affect you , report it by completing this : Report a nuisance bonfire

Include details of the address of the house or business where the bonfire is, how often it is happening and whether there is any dark smoke.

To report air pollution that is not from a bonfire use this form: Report air pollution

Try to give as much information as you can about the source or location of the pollution and how it is affecting you.

Smoke Control orders

To find out which areas of Calderdale are subject to a smoke control order, visit: Environmental map  .

Many industrial chimneys serving appliances will require chimney height approval from the Council. This is because a chimney must be high enough to allow the emissions to disperse and become effectively harmless. The criteria are set out in Section 14(2) of the Clean Air Act.

You can use this form to apply for chimney height approval for wood burning furnaces:  [PDF] Chimney height application form . [PDF 33KB] . Forms for other furnaces are available from Environmental Health on request.

There is no fee for making an application. Approval will not be given if the Council does not believe the proposed height will be sufficient to prevent pollution.

The Clean Air Act also requires that certain appliances be fitted with grit and dust arrestment. If you are not sure whether this will apply to your appliance you should contact Environmental Health.

An Environmental Permit may be required to burn certain wastes or use certain types of appliance. Manufacturers and suppliers will not automatically tell you if this is the case. You should check before purchasing a large appliance, to see if it does need a permit. Also, to check if the appliance is capable of meeting the operating requirements that an environmental permit will stipulate.

From time to time the Council undertakes patrols of the Borough to check for smoking chimneys. If you want to report a smoking chimney contact:

 

 

 

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