- Category: Pollution
- Last Updated: 14 October 2016
In the event of a justified complaint of statutory nuisance such as emissions of smoke, fumes or gases, dust, steam or smell, the local authority will serve an Abatement Notice upon the person responsible.
- What is a statutory nuisance?
- Action by the local authority
- Action by individuals
- Smoke from chimney fires
- Bonfires - domestic
Statutory nuisance is nuisance that is identified under specific law. Other types of nuisance not covered by statutory nuisance are public nuisance and private nuisance.
The main legislation on statutory nuisance, which enables local authorities to take action to stop it, are from Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) (as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993).
The following are some of the areas defined by Section 79 of the EPA as statutory nuisances:
- smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance;
- fumes or gases emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance (from private dwellings only);
- dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance; and
- noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
Where the local authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur, it must serve an abatement notice on the person responsible for the nuisance.
Failure to comply with the terms of an abatement notice without reasonable excuse, may result in prosecution in the Magistrate's Court.
Action to stop a statutory nuisance may also be taken by an individual. The individual must provide evidence to a Magistrate's Court that nuisance exists or is likely to recur. Before action can be taken, the complainant must notify the person responsible for the alleged nuisance, that they intend to take the matter to court.
This Service can take action with regard to smoke from chimneys under the Clean Air Act 1993 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Dark smoke from chimneys of any industrial building is prohibited. Restrictions are also in place for private dwellings where they are located in a Smoke Control Area, which requires smokeless fuel to be burnt. However there are certain fires that are exempt from these restrictions. Contact the Pollution Team for further information.
There is no law restricting when you can have a domestic bonfire. It is important however, to ensure a bonfire is carried out in a responsible way and with consideration to others. We can take action if the bonfire is proven to be causing a Statutory Nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Some factors that affect whether a bonfire is likely to be a statutory nuisance include:
- regularity (how often bonfires are taking place);
- the size of the bonfire;
- the amount of smoke being produced;
- the duration (how long the bonfire is burning for); and
- the proximity to neighbouring properties.
To avoid causing problems with your bonfire, try to follow the following points:
- warn your neighbours before you have a bonfire;
- avoid burning when it is windy or when air quality is poor or very poor;
- never burn rubber tyres, painted objects, anything containing plastic or foam;
- never use engine oil, meths or petrol to light a fire or keep it going; and
- do not leave a fire unattended or leave it to smoulder. Douse with water if necessary.
In order to be a statutory nuisance, the bonfire must be affecting the use or enjoyment of other properties.
How to get rid of rubbish without burning it
- recycling; and
- special collection (arranged by Streetscene).
The burning of trade waste is an offence; all waste should be taken to a licensed disposal site or collected by a licensed carrier. In addition, burning of materials causing dark smoke is a strict offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 also covers fumes, gases etc., emitted from premises that are prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
In some cases odour caused by spreading on agricultural land can be reduced. Farmers do need to spread, so some odour is to be expected. However, farmers must work in line with their code of practice.
Both odour and dust cannot be measured; the chemicals which cause odour are usually of low levels and not harmful to health. Also sensitivity to odour can vary significantly between individuals. Odour can be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
For further information contact Health and Environment or telephone 01653 600666 ext. 256, 257 or 351.