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Statutory nuisance

The law relating to statutory nuisance

This guidance describes the type of problems that may constitute statutory nuisances and the action available by us.

What is a statutory nuisance?

A statutory nuisance is one that is defined in law. Most nuisances are covered in Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as follows:

  • 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 gases 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 as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Any insects emanating from relevant industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Artificial light emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • Noise that is prejudicial to health or a nuisance and is emitted from or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street

(The term prejudicial to health means injurious or likely to cause injury to health).

Other defined statutory nuisances include:

  • any well, tank, cistern or water butt used for the supply of water for domestic purposes which is so placed, constructed or kept in a way that makes the water liable to contamination and harmful to health (Public Health Act 1936 section 141)

  • any pond, pool, ditch, gutter or watercourse which is so foul or in such a state that it is harmful to health or a nuisance (Public Health Act 1936 section 259(1)(a))

  • a tent, van, shed or similar structure used for human habitation which is in such a state, or so overcrowded, as to be harmful to the health of the people living in it, or the use of which, because of the absence of proper sanitary accommodation, or otherwise, can create whether on the site or on other land, a nuisance or to conditions which are harmful to health (Public Health Act 1936 section 268(2)).