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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Pollution Control

Statutory Nuisance


Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 it is an offence to cause a statutory nuisance, this may relate to noise, accumulations, odours, fumes and dust emitted from a premises.

A nuisance must be witnessed by an Environmental Health Officer and in the opinion of that Officer must seriously interfere with your ability to continue living a normal life. The Officer will have to make an independent judgement, taking into account the type of nuisance, duration, intensity and frequency, as to whether the nuisance is merely an annoyance or can be classified in the more serious category of statutory nuisance.

The Officer must be convinced, as they will have to present the case in court, if informal negotiations fail to resolve the matter. It is very important that you provide suitable evidence in the first stage, which shows how the problem is affecting you and that more formal investigations can be carried out.

Although this department will endeavour to resolve matters informally, you must also be prepared to provide evidence in court.

In addition, a person affected should appreciate that the law requires a degree of tolerance and reasonable action by both parties. Commercial and Industrial premises are required to show that they are employing the best practicable means to reduce their impact, just as complainant are expected to appreciate that zero impact is unachievable.