Public health (statutory) nuisance

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides powers to individuals and Local Authorities to take action where a person is subjected to an unreasonable and significant nuisance at their property. It is difficult to define what is a statutory nuisance but in general terms it could be described as ''what an ordinary reasonable person would consider unacceptable''. This definition would exclude any personal circumstances being taken in to account when assessing nuisance. It is assessed from the average person's perspective, so matters such as shift work patterns, medical conditions, sensitivities etc, cannot be taken into account.


Statutory nuisance law is quite complex and it is based upon many years of case law. What is or is not a nuisance is based upon the professional opinion of the investigating officer. 

 To be considered a statutory nuisance something must be, or likely to be

  • a nuisance or
  • prejudicial to health

It must be something which seriously  affects and disturbs the comfort and enjoyment of a person's property and can include:

  • any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • smoke and ash emitted from premises, such as from bonfires or chimneys
  • fumes or gases emitted from premises 
  • any dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on business premises
  • accumulations or deposits of rubbish or offensive materials causing smells, flies etc
  • any animals kept in  such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance
  • any insects emanating from a business premises
  • noise from domestic or commercial premises including licensed premises
  • noise emitted from or caused by a vehicle, machinery or equipment in a street
  • artificial light emitted from premises 

Public protection


Tel: 0300 303 8657

Fax: 020 8313 4450

Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH

Out of hours emergencies only

5.00pm - 8.30am and weekends

Tel: 0300 303 8671