Local Authorities have statutory powers under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with nuisances such as noise, odour, smoke and excessive lighting from residential and commercial premises.
The Environmental Health Service deals with a wide range of noise and nuisance problems including those listed below:
- Barking Dogs.
- Car Alarms.
- Construction site noise or dust pollution.
- DIY Work .
- Intruder Alarms.
- Loud music/Parties.
- Noise from Commercial Premises.
- Noise from Pubs and Clubs.
- Odour from commercial premises.
Unfortunately we have no power to deal with:
- Aircraft noise.
- Problems caused by inadequate sound insulation in residential properties.
- Rowdy behaviour in public places.
- Traffic noise.
- Odour from domestic properties.
How to get help
If you are suffering from nuisance in your home you are entitled to complain to the Environmental Health Service.
To request our assistance you can phone us using the number on the Contact Information menu and give the necessary details. We will need to know the correct postal address where the problem lies. We usually need to write to the property where the noise is coming from to notify them that they are causing a nuisance and that we have received a complaint. It is very important that you give us the correct address as it obviously causes further problems if we send a letter of complaint to the wrong neighbour.
If the noise continues, we usually ask you to complete diary log sheets of the noise as it affects you. This will enable us to assess whether a statutory nuisance exists and will form
It helps our investigation if you can provide the following information:
- The type of nuisance such as loud music, air conditioning or smoke.
- The exact address or location the noise is coming from.
- The exact dates and times when the noise starts and stops.
- The effect of the noise such as it disturbs your sleep, interferes with your television / radio / conversations, etc.
We do not usually reveal who has complained to anyone, but it may be possible for someone to guess or it may be obvious if you are the only neighbour. Where the noise persists it is sometimes necessary to prosecute the person responsible for the noise nuisance. This may require you to be a witness in the magistrates court.
What you can do to help
Many people do not realise that their actions are causing their neighbours a problem. Remember that we may all be guilty of making noise at some time or other without knowing it. The problem is not always one of inconsiderate behaviour. If you can approach safely, the best way to deal with the problem is to talk to the person or company responsible and explain the problem. You may find that you can resolve the problem amicably without any further action.
Taking your own action
On occasions it may not be possible for Environmental Health to take action on your behalf. Under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 you may be able to take your own action through the Isle of Wight Magistrates Court.
This sheet details the steps that must be followed by individuals affected by statutory nuisances who wish to take their own action.
A statutory nuisance is one of the following:
Any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Smoke emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Fumes or gasses emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Any dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Any accumulation or deposit which is prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Any animal kept in such a place or manner so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.
- Noise that is prejudicial to health or a nuisance that is caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street.
- Insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises.
- Artificial light emitted from industrial trade premises or from lights used only to illuminate outdoor relevant sports facilities.
You may take action against:
- The person responsible for the nuisance.
- The owner or occupier of the premises where the nuisance is caused by a structural defect.
- The owner or occupier of the premises if the person responsible for the nuisance cannot be found.
- The person responsible for the vehicle, machinery or equipment if the nuisance is caused by noise from them.
Before you take action any court action you must send a written notice to the person concerned, telling him, her or them that you are intending to take court action. You must also specify in that notice the statutory nuisance you say has occurred, is occurring or is likely to recur. You should keep a copy of this notice and any evidence of delivery to the person concerned.
For all statutory nuisances after twenty-one days of sending the notice (except those involving noise where the time period is after three days) you may apply to the Isle of Wight Magistrates Court for a summons. You can make the application in writing or by attending the court office. The court is open at 09:15 am Monday to Friday. (If you wish to attend the court office to make your application you should telephone first on 524244, to ensure that a legal advisor will be able to see you.)
The address of the court is:
The Isle of Wight Magistrates Court
The Court House
Isle of Wight
When you make your application you must state what type of statutory nuisance you are complaining about and give the name and address of the person you wish to take action against. You should also provide a copy of the written notice you have sent; stating when you sent it and whom you sent it to. You should also take any evidence you possess of the alleged nuisance.
If a summons is issued you will receive three copies. The first is for you to keep. The second copy is for you to “serve” on the person you wish to take action against. You should serve this by first class post to the last known address of the person concerned. The third copy must be returned to the court, stating when and how you served the second copy of the summons on the relevant person.
You must attend court on the date shown on the summons. The person you are taking action against should also attend. If that person accepts that there is a statutory nuisance the court may be able to deal with the case that day. If not, the court will give you another hearing date and explain what you must do.
If the court decides that there is a statutory nuisance it can order the person concerned to stop the nuisance and to carry out any necessary work. You will also be able to claim your costs for bringing the matter to court. If the court decides that there is not a statutory nuisance then you may be ordered to pay the costs of the person you took action against. If you are unsure how to proceed you should seek legal advice.
For more information, visit law & your environment.