Accumulations, nuisance premises and animals
For general information and advice on statutory nuisances, please visit our main statutory nuisance page. It provides background information on what the requirements are for something to be a statutory nuisance, information on how we investigate and seek remedy, and what information we would require from you.
Here you will find information on the following potential nuisances:
Accumulations of waste may present a health risk. To be a statutory nuisance, the issue has to be prejudicial to health and/or cross a property boundary, so we would not be able to take action against all waste deposits or unsightly accumulations. If the deposit is harbouring or attracting rodents, we also have powers under the Prevention of Damage by Pest Act 1949 to deal with the property.
We are likely to be able to take action where waste has, for example, started to decompose because it contains food, or is providing homes and food for rats. An overgrown garden or a pile of inert waste would be very unlikely to be a nuisance in law.
Visual eyesores cannot be a statutory nuisance as they do not cross a boundary (as nuisance can only be established in law if there is material interference with a neighbour's property and their comfort), nor do they impact on human health.
If any nuisance is caused by an accumulation or deposit on trade or industrial premises, we may not be able to take action if best practicable means have already been used to prevent, or reduce, the effects of any nuisance.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (section 59) also allows us to serve notice requiring an occupier of land or the owner to remove fly-tipped waste (i.e. waste brought to the land from elsewhere) and/or reduce the consequences of the deposit. There is a defence if the person served with the notice neither deposited nor caused or permitted the deposit of waste. We have a separate page on how we deal with fly-tipping.
We can also use the Public Health Act 1936 to deal with filthy and verminous premises and the Public Health Act 1961 or the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to deal with accumulations that are seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood. In certain circumstances deposits or accumulations may be dealt with under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, where they are having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality, and the conduct is unreasonable. To be actionable, the waste needs to be significant and the land not merely unsightly or messy.
The Council cannot take action under the statutory nuisance provisions in the case of a waste operation (disposal, treatment or storage) where the Environment Agency regulate the premises under a permit issued under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016. Action may be taken under those Regulations. Some waste operations qualify for an exemption from needing a permit. These must be carried out without endangering human health, without harming the environment and, in particular:
without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
without causing a nuisance through noise or odours
without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest
Compliance with these objectives should in principle prevent any statutory nuisance. Where an exemption no longer applies to an activity, the requirement for a permit arises, and the operator is acting unlawfully in continuing to operate without one and may be prosecuted.
The Council may be able to deal with problems associated with properties which are in such a poor state of repair that they affect adjacent properties and their occupiers. If premises are defective and likely to affect the health of the occupants, action could also be taken.
When assessing for nuisance, the whole condition of the premises will be investigated. A statutory nuisance may be caused as a result of the cumulative impact of a number of minor defects or one major defect affecting the health of the occupant(s): Examples include:
dampness, condensation and mould growth
a hole in the roof of a neighbouring premises causing damp in both
faulty or dangerous gas installations
If a statutory nuisance exists as a result of the structure of premises, action will be taken against the owners, otherwise it will be against the person responsible for the nuisance.
The Council can enforce the cleansing of filthy or verminous premises, including tents and vehicles, and the treatment of verminous persons under Parts II and XI of the Public Health Act 1936.
Cluttered and/or untidy premises (including gardens), that do not cause nuisance or a hazard to health, cannot be dealt with as a statutory nuisance. They are also unlikely to be seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood such that the Public Health Act 1961 or the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 would apply.
In general people are allowed to keep animals as long as they do not cause a statutory nuisance to people around them. The owner of the animal has a duty to ensure their animals are kept in such a way that they do not interfere with their neighbour's enjoyment of their homes. In addition they have to comply with animal welfare standards. Animals that are not kept in suitable conditions can cause problems in relation to noise, odour and waste.
We try to resolve problems by offering help and advice, but in circumstances where we determine there is a statutory nuisance we can use the powers available in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The keeping of livestock, either as part of a business or as pets, must be registered with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The owner will need a county parish holding (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency before moving livestock onto their land. Livestock includes:
bovine animals (cattle, bison and buffalo)
pigs (there are additional requirements in the case of a pet pig)
poultry (chickens, bantams, ducks, geese and turkeys) (50 or more birds must be registered by law)
Sometimes animals and livestock are mentioned in restrictive covenants in a property's deeds. A restrictive covenant is a private agreement between landowners where one party will restrict the use of its land in some way for the benefit of another's land. Restrictive covenants, once agreed between the parties, are placed in the title deeds to the property. In some cases these may seek to prevent the keeping of livestock. The covenants are enforced by whichever party (i.e. one who would benefit from the covenant) taking legal action because they are aggrieved by another party’s use of the land in question. This is done through the civil courts by seeking an injunction to stop the breach of the covenant or by claiming damages for the effects of the breach. The Council may not legally get involved with these types of issue as they are private matters.