Definition and types of noise nuisance

Definition of noise nuisance

Noise that amounts to a nuisance can be either continuous or intermittent, but in either case it must affect your comfort or quality of life.

Statutory nuisance

There are three kinds of nuisance in law: public, private and statutory. We deal with statutory nuisances and these are particular nuisances identified in various acts of parliament are criminal offences.

We use Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 to deal with statutory nuisance. The activities in question have to be considered prejudicial to health:

  • causing injury or likely to cause injury
  • or a nuisance; interfering with someone's personal comfort or enjoyment

Our pollution control officers investigate nuisance and will assess whether it can be considered to be a statutory nuisance.

We take into account:

  • the locality of the nuisance
  • the frequency
  • duration
  • and the time that the nuisance occurs

Keep a detailed log of incidents

It is very important to keep a detailed record of any incidents of nuisance. Sometimes we may need to witness the nuisance however we only experience a snapshot of the nuisance and will have to rely on your records before taking further action.

What happens next

Once it has been established that a statutory nuisance exists and is likely to occur or re-occur, we will issue an abatement notice. If this notice is then ignored the perpetrator can be prosecuted in the magistrates' court and fined.

Prosecution can result in heavy fines of up to £5,000 for a domestic situation and up to £20,000 if the nuisance involves money or a business.

We can also apply for a warrant from a justice of the peace to seize and remove the offending equipment or apply for a deprivation order following a successful prosecution, allowing us to retain the equipment.

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