Report a statutory nuisance

What is a statutory nuisance?

Something which is unreasonable and causes substantial inference in the use or enjoyment of your property and/ or poses a threat to health. This is much more than an annoyance or something that you are aware of.

Statutory nuisance tends to be property based, where a person is affected regularly in that property. If something affects you whilst walking down a footpath or whilst you visit a friend would not be a statutory nuisance.

Action you can take

You should first try to resolve the problem early on by talking to whoever is responsible for the issue. 

If you’re worried about approaching them, write a letter, explaining the problem clearly and sticking to the facts. You can use this letter template to send to the person or organisation responsible for the issue.

You may be able to resolve the issue without having to make a formal complaint. 

What you need to know

We can investigate complaints about issues that could be a 'statutory nuisance' under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Find out what counts as a statutory nuisance from GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

Involving the Council with a view to legal action should normally be a last resort. Any formal action activated by the council has to satisfy the threshold of evidence and be admissible in a court of law, this is a complex and often lengthy process.

Issues that we can investigate:

  • accumulation or deposits of waste on public land
  • animals kept in a place or manner that affects health or is a nuisance
  • artificial light
  • dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising from commercial premises
  • fumes or gases emitted from premises
  • insects from commercial premises
  • noise emitted from any premises e.g. amplified music, excessive dog barking
  • noise emitted from or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in the street e.g. car alarms
  • premises in a poor state
  • smoke emitted from premises including bonfires

We can investigate these issues where the disturbance is severe and take formal action when the issue cannot be resolved informally.

Issues that we cannot investigate: 

  • general household noise for example doors closing, talking, creaky floorboards.
  • odour from cigarette smoke, tobacco smoke, pipe smoke, cannabis smoke etc. going from one property to another is not a matter that can be investigated under the Statutory Nuisance regime. Smoking within your own home or garden is considered 'reasonable use'.
  • odour from domestic kitchens
  • one-off problems such as parties, firework displays (opens in new tab)  or bonfires
  • road traffic noise
  • smoke from vehicles on the highway. To report a particularly smoky vehicle note down the registration number and report it online to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (opens in new tab) or call the Vehicle Inspectorate on 0300 123 9000

Reasonable use has to be taken into consideration, when assessing statutory nuisances and it is reasonable that a person/people smoke within their own home and in their garden. This is a civil matter.

As cannabis is an illegal substance, complaints of this nature should be reported to the Police. This would not be investigated under the Statutory Nuisance regime.

Can I remain anonymous during the investigation?

No, we're unable to investigate anonymous complaints. 

Resolving an issue with a neighbour 

Before making a formal complaint, try to discuss the problem with your neighbour.
If you’re worried about approaching them, write a letter, explaining the problem clearly and sticking to the facts. You can use this letter template to send to your neighbour.

If you or your neighbour are a tenant of Gloucester City Homes or a housing association you can report the issue to their anti-social behaviour teams and ask them to investigate. Or If your neighbour is renting from a private landlord you can report issues to the landlord directly or letting agent if they have one.

If the problem affects other neighbours, involve them as well. It can be easier to settle a dispute if the complaint comes from a number of people.

Get practical advice from the problem neighbours website (opens in new tab)

How to report a statutory nuisance 

You’ll need to a complete log sheet for a 14-day period. You can start the log on any day.

You will need to:

  • download the log sheet
  • add a new entry to the log every time you are disturbed by a nuisance over the next 14 days
  • send the completed form to us via email or post, Gloucester City Council, Community Wellbeing Team, PO Box 2017, Pershore, WR10 9BJ

If you are unable to download and print the log sheets please contact us on 01452 396 396.

What happens next

An officer will assess your log sheets and contact you to advise on the next steps.

What if the council cannot investigate my complaint?

If your case officer cannot find evidence of a statutory nuisance, they will advise on how you can take action yourself in the Magistrate’s Court. See the Law and environment website (opens in new tab) for more information.

Your case officer will provide you with details of your local policing team who may be able to assist you with issues of anti-social behaviour or any other organisation that might be able to help.

Your case officer may advise a restorative approach. This is where both parties are encouraged to mediate with the assistance of a restorative practitioner. This approach has had some very positive results and does require both parties to participate. Your case officer is able to make a referral. See the Restorative Gloucestershire website (opens in new tab) for more information.

Anti social behaviour

If you are also experiencing issues of anti-social behaviour your case may be referred to the Solace team within the council, this team deal with medium to high level anti social behaviour.

There may also be alternatives to statutory nuisance investigation and this will depend on your situation. Another route your case officer may consider is a Community Protection Notice.

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