Noise, smoke and other nuisances

If you have a complaint about noise, smoke, or other nuisances you can find out how to report it to us, and what we can do to help resolve it.

We investigate complaints of noise, smoke, dust, smell, light and insect nuisance and accumulations of rubbish.

It would be unrealistic not to expect people to cause the occasional nuisance, so we look at complaints with this in mind.

Some examples of nuisance complaints are:

You may want to discuss the problem with your neighbour if you feel it is safe to do so and try to come to an understanding.

If you decide to make a complaint you need to contact the Environmental Protection Team.

Please note: We need to know exactly where the nuisance is coming from to allow us to investigate the complaint.  The Council is unable to go out and look for where a nuisance is coming from.

When we receive your complaint we take these steps:

  1. We will send you an information pack and diary sheet and you should start to complete your diary sheet, which should be kept for three weeks before being returned to us
  2. A letter will be sent to your neighbour to let them know that a complaint has been received about them and asking them to do something about the disturbance or contact us if they feel they are not responsible for it
  3. Please return your diary when you have three weeks' entries. If you feel the problem is too serious to wait for three weeks, please contact us and an Officer may be able to arrange an earlier visit
  4. When we receive your diary an Officer will decide on the most appropriate course of action. This may be visits to your property to witness the nuisance or installing noise monitoring equipment. The Council can only take formal action if the nuisance can be witnessed
  5. If a Statutory nuisance can be established then further action will be taken by the investigating Officer on your behalf. This can be a legal Abatement Notice
  6. Records of any conversations you have with the person causing you the problem should be kept on a separate piece of paper showing the date when the conversation took place and a brief outline of what was said
  7. If either side writes letters a copy should be kept. We may wish to see any such correspondence. This will be returned to you
  8. You may be asked to provide a Witness Statement for use in Court should your complaint continue to this stage. If you are not prepared to give a statement it may mean the Council cannot take formal action

If the problem is sorted out before the investigation is ended, please let us know.

During an investigation your details cannot be revealed without your permission under the Data Protection Act.

If, following investigation of the nuisance, we feel that formal action cannot be taken by ourselves then you may wish to consider taking legal action yourselves.

Action can be taken under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and information is available in the leaflet Taking your own action for Nuisance Problems.

You may also find the leaflets covering various areas of nuisance helpful:

Further information can also be found at the Environmental Protection UK website and the Gov.uk website.

Laws and regulation

We have a legal duty to investigate complaints of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A statutory nuisance can be described as a situation which is having a material effect on the way in which you live at your property. It usually has to be affecting lifestyle or enjoyment in a serious way and must be severe or repeated regularly. If a Statutory Nuisance is proven following investigation an Abatement Notice will be served on the person responsible, setting out what must be done to abate the nuisance. If the notice is ignored, prosecution may follow with a fine of up to £5,000 for nuisance arising from domestic properties, or up to £20,000 where commercial or industrial premises are involved.

There are no bylaws that restrict the times or days on which bonfires can be lit in Taunton Deane. If the smoke is so bad that it threatens the safety of road traffic then the police should be notified. If the fire is threatening properties you should call the Fire Brigade.