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When you Should Contact your Local Environmental Health Department

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Air Quality Environmental Health

If you have already read a number of articles contained on this website, you will have begun to realise that your local authority’s environmental health department covers a vast remit and they often your first port of call if you are experiencing problems with your neighbours or within the community as a whole.

It can be far quicker to obtain a resolution if you contact your environmental health department first as opposed to calling the police when dealing with many neighbourhood issues. In fact, in most instances, even if you call the police, they might refer you back to the environmental health department first. Here are the many issues that the environmental health department would deal with:

Air Quality

If your enjoyment of your own property is being affected by a Neighbour’s Bonfire or barbecue or if an industrial chimney is causing a problem.

Contaminated Land

Where you suspect that chemicals or associated materials have polluted either a water supply or have contaminated land.

Dangerous Dogs

If you have a problem with a Dangerous Or Nuisance Dog in your area or you have been attacked or been threatened by an attack from a dog. You’d also contact the department if you're concerned about persistent dog fouling outside your house or on local parks.

Food Standards

If you are concerned about the hygiene of a particular business which is manufacturing and/or selling food or drink to the public, or you have suffered a health problem as a result of eating suspected contaminated food.

Noise Levels

If you are suffering from the effects of Excessive Noise as the result of a neighbour’s party, loud music, a nearby factory or some other kind of business which is generating excessive noise or if you have an Incessantly Barking Dog in the neighbourhood.

Pest Control

If your own home or a nearby property has been plagued by pests which could be anything from a wasps’ nest to rodent control.

Flytipping

If flytipping has occurred on your street or if you suspect a neighbour to be guilty of flytipping elsewhere.

Graffiti and Flyposting

If graffiti or flyposting is happening in your area, your environmental health department will also deal with this.

Litter

If a neighbour is guilty of not disposing of their household waste correctly, or if you are experiencing a lot of litter on your property or street as the result of a business nearby.

Of course, in many of these instances, the problem can often be resolved by speaking to the relevant neighbour or nearby business first. However, if you’re unable to obtain a satisfactory resolution to a particular problem from the person(s) involved, or you don’t know who might be responsible for causing the problem, then all of the above fall under the jurisdiction of your local authority’s environmental health department. They have the powers and the weight of the law behind them to begin an investigation and to enforce a resolution, be that through the courts, if necessary.

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My neighbours keep feeding feral cats that have grown in numbers.. 15 so far in the last 2yrs.. They feed them in their back garden and then they crap over my lawn. It stinks so much that I can't sit in my garden surrounded by runny cat mess and urine and blue bottle flies.. not to mention the cat fights at night and early morning keeping my family awake.. 4 yrs ago they were feeding feral cats (25) in total.. I complained and the local council paid contractors to come and take them away.. Then they started to feed another feral cat which keeps having kittens and this has led to the recent 15 cats that have destroyed my garden.. Cats protection are not interested in helping !!!! Help anyone
Wits End - 17-Jan-17 @ 1:17 PM
Hi, my partner and I are wanting to rent out one of our properties but there is an unsightly mess as you look out of the kitchen window created by one of the neighbours. It is a dilapidated campervan along with clapped out old cars that have sat there for years. The land backs onto the railway line and apparently he does own the land. It will put people off renting and I wondered if there was anything we can do legally to get it moved? Thank you
Tats - 12-Jan-17 @ 4:52 PM
Hi I've been living in a house with husband and two children. About six months ago one of my neighbours started banging her bin lid a few times a day. Getting louder and louder over the months. She also swings her gate constantly and goes next doors Garden(when the lady's out) and bangs her bin lid potters about making noise. She prefers to be in next doors garden as she is out of view. Now I know it doesn't sound like much but this is a mature lady who's about 70 and she lives with her husband so she's not lonely. She is well put together. I know she's doing these things to annoy me. I've counted her banging her bin lid over 30 times a day on a bad day and my husband saw her putting the smallest piece of paper in there. She waves at my husband and says hello to my children but never to me. I study from home so I'm in everyday, and when I say it's all day everyday it really is. I've had to start wearing ear plugs because even though it's winter she has been out at 1:30am banging her bin lid. The way our houses are my bedroom is infront of her front door bins etc. So is this anti-social behaviour?
Sam - 12-Jan-17 @ 11:26 AM
Hello My good friend is experiencing an issuing with one of the other tenants ina shared privately rented accommodation, the people are on housing benefits. He has lived there for nearly a year, at first the place was really quiet and all the other tenets got along. Then a guy moved in his partner works for the local authority in the benefits department, she is always getting involved and laying the law down, she stays at the premises often she thinks she is superior and in charge of the property. The guy keeps them a wake all night, with having different people coming round and shouting outside at all hours it is believed that he is dealing in drugs, people are coming and going at all hours. He sleeps all day and complains when the other residents make any noise during the day.He has threatened the other tenants and calls them names, he has broken the lock on another tenants bathroom despite having his own within his room, he filled their bath up with rubbish and empty cans of booze and broken glass. He has been reported to the landlord on several occasions and the landlord found drugs in another room and flushed them down the toilet, this person is making everyone's lives a misery with lack of sleep and constant noise and behaviour.
Flossie - 27-Dec-16 @ 4:57 PM
We have neighbours next door to us who we have had a discussion with ref their loud musicparties in the garden 4 days on a trot until 3-4 am.weand a few more neighbours reported them to the council and it calmed down. Now for over a week i am having ciggerette butts thrown over my wall . Noone in my family smokes and i am getting really annoyed and throw them back overbut it is getting beyond a joke now . Id there anything legal i can do. As these neighbours are not approachable and if i did go i would regret what i would do to her especially.
nettie - 27-Dec-16 @ 9:30 AM
i live in a flat above a chemist who run a 24hr service through saturday nights so therefore there are customers having conversations in the street the door is being opened and closed which when it closes it vibrates on outside bedroom wall. they deal with customers at various times through the night last one was 4:30 am car running outside below bedroom window a woman having a conversation in the street with chemist person through the door then he serves her by opening and closing the door making even more noise. this has lots of hour variations anything from 1am - 7am all waking me up most times.
24HR CHEMIST - 18-Dec-16 @ 5:40 AM
Dilly - Your Question:
Hello, I own my house. Three years ago the house next door, also privately owned, was let to the local authority, and it has now been turned into a 'temporary accomodation' for people waiting to be re-housed. the current tennants have no respect for the property the front garden and pavement is full of rubbish, bits of old furniture which the bin men appear to be refusing to take, it has been there for weeks, there are old sheets up at the window as curtains it looks like a squat. They also have a dog which they constantly scream at, and when they go out they leave it in the garden to bark all day. They are also not very approachable! We are hoping to sell up and move in the near future, and I am not sure how to deal with the situation, as it will definitely de-value our property, and if we don't do something soon we will have trouble selling. I have also been told that by contacting the local authority to complain, may be regarded as a dispute with the neighbour wwhich you have to declare when you sell the property. Thanks for any advice.

Our Response:
You really don't have any choice but to make a complaint to the owner which in this case is the council, so it will be officially recorded. You could ask a councillor to look into the general problem posed by this type of accommodation and even get them to ask discreetly about your own case?
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-16 @ 12:11 PM
Please any advice welcomed. I live in a maisonette with my 5year old daughter. Since the lady downstairs moved in, it has been a nightmare as i amworried for my da7ghters health because this lady is systematically poisoning my hedge, NOW DEAD. . SHE IS KILLING EVERY POTTED PLANT. All my ferns. In yhe summer it started with finding my hosters had been burt to ash. I HAVE FOUND EVIDENCCE OF SOE substance. That is being sprayed over well everywhere...it is a white substance...it has d3stroyed my well established hedge. It is poisoning thw land as i can so my other neighbours plants going yellow 8n colour and spreading from my side of the pplany. I am very worried for ky da7ghter as she plays in our garden and i have no idea what is spray3f and if it can be so 5oxic to the gardrn i wory of the effect m6 child could be suffering if she has come into contac5 with items that are by places this taxic substance . I am at my wits...i have ccctv but believe she is climb7ng over back fence to ga8n entrance to my garden. Where the camera doea not film.It is consuming my mind and i just need help if any body has suggestions ?
Twinks - 14-Dec-16 @ 11:38 PM
Hello, I own my house.Three years ago the house next door, also privately owned, was let to the local authority, and it has now been turned into a 'temporary accomodation' for people waiting to be re-housed. the current tennants have no respect for the property the front garden and pavement is full of rubbish, bits of old furniture which the bin men appear to be refusing to take, it has been there for weeks, there are old sheets up at the window as curtains it looks like a squat. They also have a dog which they constantly scream at, and when they go out they leave it in the garden to bark all day.They are also not very approachable! We are hoping to sell up and move in the near future, and I am not sure how to deal with the situation, as it will definitely de-value our property, and if we don't do something soon we will have trouble selling.I have also been told that by contacting the local authority to complain, may be regarded as a dispute with the neighbour wwhich you have to declare when you sell the property. Thanks for any advice.
Dilly - 14-Dec-16 @ 1:17 PM
Jill - Your Question:
We have lived in our house for over 11 years. A year ago some new neighbours rented the house opposite and they have a highly aggressive bengal tomcat. It is making our lives a misery. It attacks our old cat and kitten constantly. It comes in our garden and attacks them, sprays all around our garden, even comes and snarls at them through our windows. Both our cats have had to have veto army treatment for wounds. We now have to keep our cats in the whole time and are considering having to rehome our own cats as it is a miserable life for them. I know there are things you can do about nuisance dogs but what about anti social aggressive cats? Is there anything we can do? Thank you

Our Response:
Cat owners are responsible for ‘severe’ damage which includes damage to property, including other animals such as neighbours’ cats. Obviously you don't want to get to this stage. There is a range of things you can do to try and keep the cat out or take action against the owner. Take a look at these two resources: The Cat Group's Cat Law Pdf and the Car Expert's guide to keeping your cat safe
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Dec-16 @ 2:41 PM
We have lived in our house for over 11 years. A year ago some new neighbours rented the house opposite and they have a highly aggressive bengal tomcat. It is making our lives a misery. It attacks our old cat and kitten constantly. It comes in our garden and attacks them, sprays all around our garden, even comes and snarls at them through our windows. Both our cats have had to have veto army treatment for wounds. We now have to keep our cats in the whole time and are considering having to rehome our own cats as it is a miserable life for them. I know there are things you can do about nuisance dogs but what about anti social aggressive cats? Is there anything we can do? Thank you
Jill - 7-Dec-16 @ 8:07 AM
Hi. I have had problems with an abusive neighbour (home owner) for the last 10 years. He got really stroppy when I had my extensions built and the surveyor said because his extension is on my land, the quickest and easiest option is to use his wall but pay the neighbour £430 for using his extension wall. we did and he banged down our door for the money every day and now is complaining that he may have damp because of us? we have police complaints against him as he has been racist, rude, peeping tom issues, harassment, discrimination, intimidation, drunk and just horrible over the years. he called the police regarding his "possible" damp issue, neighborhood police came and had a look and we said he is harassing us and wants us to pay for his damp! He has now contacted the environmental services (housing standards) and said the same thing. The environmental officer wants to come and check for leaks? I have said "no" this is harassment and now racist and offensive about my living standards, because i am Asian? and i am to blame for all his problems? i do not want to give in and my mum has major bipolar and OCD and can not have people with shoes in house and gets panic attacks and is really unwell. can the officer force entry if i decline entry? really had enough and have no pipe works along that particular wall in question. if they issue a court order, will i be told first and be able to argue it before issued? please help. mum is suicidal and really draining me and i am trying hard to help her through this.
nad - 30-Nov-16 @ 10:09 PM
Nikki - Your Question:
I live in a small block of flats belonging to a housing association. My neighbour has a car which has been leaking oil from under the bonnet for ages now. It has caused a big black stain on the car park and when it rains it mixes in to make oily rainbow puddles. I can't speak to my neighbour about this as she abusive, aggressive, and I've had issues with her bullying me in the past. I worry about this oil as it is poisonous to cats and wildlife and I have three cats. What can I do?

Our Response:
Speak to your housing association. They should be able to serve her with a notice to act on this...it's probably in contravention of the tenancy agreement.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Nov-16 @ 2:02 PM
I live in a small block of flats belonging to a housing association. My neighbour has a car which has been leaking oil from under the bonnet for ages now. It has caused a big black stain on the car park and when it rains it mixes in to make oily rainbow puddles. I can't speak to my neighbour about this as she abusive, aggressive, and I've had issues with her bullying me in the past. I worry about this oil as it is poisonous to cats and wildlife and I have three cats. What can I do?
Nikki - 22-Nov-16 @ 5:11 AM
Hi, I see my neighbors that left bag of rubbish out of my gate and inside my gate in my bin. Every week the concil dosen't take my rubbish because there's this bag open and not in a black bag and I have to clean all and put all in the black bag. I'm in rent and she say that she do because she know the landlord and has his permission. What I can do?thanks Francesca
Francy - 20-Nov-16 @ 8:28 PM
We have a water leak inside our property. We have had roofers out but they said the problem is next doors roof and chimney. Next door are refusing to get any works done. We have offered to pay but they have refused and won't let us fix the problem. The damage is considerable and getting worse. What can we do. ??
Supasue - 20-Nov-16 @ 5:44 PM
cookie- Your Question:
The house next door garden is a mess and ful of this and that I have seen rats running around and been in my garden too wot can I do about it.

Our Response:
Please see our guide to Overgrown and messy gardens for more information.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Nov-16 @ 1:40 PM
The housenext doorgardenis a mess and ful of this and that I have seen rats runningaroundand been in my gardentoo wot can I do about it ..
cookie - 16-Nov-16 @ 12:18 AM
Hi I am not sure where to report and get help. Lots of kids love to dropping litter nearby my shop and a bin is right opposite the road. It has been a year long already, no matter how many times I have asked them to pick the rubbish up, the problem still remains unsolved. What can I do about it? I know that a person over 10 years old who dropping litter on the street is liable for £75 fine, where I can report the issue please?
Connie - 13-Nov-16 @ 6:08 PM
The refuse bins are situated 14in from my front door in a block of 4 and some bins have dog waste is this against enviromental health law it seem wrong i come out my front door and have the smell i have no dogs so why should i have this its a home group property cramlington northumberland
col - 10-Nov-16 @ 3:12 PM
I'm a mature person living in this area for decades.It is a residential area.It has always been a residential family area near to a number of local primaryschools and a secondary school.A few minutes walk away a small parade of local shops,so was a typical residential UK area until a few years ago 3 to 4 houses on this same residential (small) road started behaving like full blown businesses on an INDUSTRIAL ESTATE,purpose built Industrial estate. What can we do?If anything>Instead of front gardens we now have multiple car parks in the front of our houses (semi-detatched and terraced make up all of the road on both sides.We have medium sized front car parks and large back gardens which the people running their businesses use for storage and warehouses/sheds, they even have fork-lift trucks ruining our peace and the possibility for our children to play happily in their back gardens.Tyres are piled up over 6th in the back garden next to mine and I fear it's a fire hazard. Is there anything we should do?Can do, or try to do I have tried politely explaning that they are making our lives a misery by converting their garden and our surroundings into an industrial area but it gets worse day by day hour by hour.As I type a large industrial container TRUCK is parked outside our house blocking the parking areas and road space of 4 houses as they are AGAIN loading up a big truck obviously as part of whatever business they are running from home.Why should we all have to put up with this anti social behaviour and no consideration for neighbours?I wonder can anybody do anything about this situation?
Concerned4theChildre - 7-Nov-16 @ 12:30 PM
Hi, I am aware of a neighbor who is preparing food in their premises for the homeless.The problem I have is that everyone in the house smokes, they smoke even while food is being cooked or prepared.I know they are giving this food away, but surely there should be standards about how this food is prepared.The food donations they have, are just left in this smokey environment.I don't know if anyone checks on these people, they also get money and other donations and it seems their home is improving.I hope this doesn't sound like I am dissing the idea of helping the homeless I am not, I feel that if they are going to be eating food and having things donated to them then it should smell and taste of smoke
DiamondDogs - 3-Nov-16 @ 4:41 PM
Hello, I have an old staffy, he barks some times if there is someone outside the house or if some one is banging and this gets worse when there are fireworks going off. I have medicated him, put a plugin in and left the radio on in the hopes of reducing his anxiety. My neighbour has started to complain as he feels my dog barking intermittently for an hour once a fortnight is to much, my neighbour is in and out of his house and our houses are very close together he chops his wood outside the property which my dog is obviously going to get upset with. I've tried explaining this to him but he seems to expect my dog to be silent, he has even admitted that my dog only barks every now and again and not for long but still he is not happy with this. Do you have any advice? Am I being unreasonable? Is an hour once every now and again excessive?
Annoyedneighbour - 29-Oct-16 @ 3:35 PM
Mia - Your Question:
House next door is being used as a scrap merchants, the noise of them dragging scrap metal up our shared entry is awful, the damage to our walls where they scrape the metal along our walls is getting worse, our internet cables have been dragged out of their coupling where they have dragged their scrap up the entry, I can't approach them as my husband works away Monday to Friday. They put a hole in our fence when sorting their scrap and didn't care. I'm so fed up I can't sit in my garden anymore the noise and sight of mounds of washers,bikes, TVs etc is appalling.

Our Response:
Is this an official business? It seems strange that permission would be given for a scrap merchant next door to a residential property. Contact your planning department to find out why/whether this is being allowed.
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Oct-16 @ 1:59 PM
I have a neighbour that has started working on cars form his garage. He is paint spraying panel beating and has friends helping or working for him that park over my drive. this wouldn't be a problem so much if done while I was out at work as I would not be around for it to bother me but its every evening and he works up to 10 pm most night sometimes later. Its really starting to get to me. I have tried talking to him but its like talking to child he looks at me with a blank face and agrees with everything then carry's on like nothing is wrong. Please help what can I do about this
poo - 27-Oct-16 @ 3:31 PM
Su - Your Question:
Hello,I need an answer please:Until what time is aloud to cook in a shared house as my flatemate is cooking every evening around 10pm to midnight. He is living upstairs and we downstairs, get the rooms filled with foodsmell and making noise as well.

Our Response:
There are no laws about cooking at night time. If the noise is excessive after 11pm your neighbour could be investigated by Environmental Health if you make a complaint.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Oct-16 @ 2:43 PM
Sick of being pleasa - Your Question:
The property next door had asbestos buildings at the back it belonged to an old couple who died and lay empty for many years. A builder bought it and obtained planning although no notices were published. On entering the land all the old land drains and cess pit were left and asbestos and other builders rubbish were scattered all over the property at the back and over onto our land. He encroached onto both neighbours properties. They were violent and abusive and attacked us with dangerous dogs for which he was prosecuted.& after living there for four years, sold rat infestations, broken land drains and raw sewage overflowing down the highway building up as black slime in his garden.The new owners have encroached my land and demolished items on it, erecting fencing panels dividing me from my land, not on the boundary. I have twice asked them to observe the boundary and not encroach our land. They say there were no arguments even though the CPS gave him a criminal record and fine. I have supplied them with my land title deeds. The building rubbish containing asbestos remains I did report it to the HSE but got no response. Rats remain and the cessp it has been connected to the road rainwater drains and is polluting everyone's land and the local storm drains. Help I've had enough of assaults and threats

Our Response:
Which problem are you asking about here? Tackle each one individually - it will help you stay calm and may get things done more effectively:
(1)Regarding the absestos and the rats - it will be more productive to contact environmental health not the HSE. They should be able to make an order for the owner to get the place cleaned up and will be able to liaise with HSE if necessary.
(2)If the cesspit is draining somewhere you feel it shouldn't be (i.e not a sewer) then contact you water company.
(3)The boundary issue is something you'd need to sort out via the courts or an alternative dispute resolution method if it cannot be resolved amicably
(4) Any assaults or threats should be reported to the police.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Oct-16 @ 11:16 AM
House next door is being used as a scrap merchants, the noise of them dragging scrap metal up our shared entry is awful, the damage to our walls where they scrape the metal along our walls is getting worse, our internet cables have been dragged out of their coupling where they have dragged their scrap up the entry, I can't approach them as my husband works away Monday to Friday. They put a hole in our fence when sorting their scrap and didn't care. I'm so fed up I can't sit in my garden anymore the noise and sight of mounds of washers,bikes, TVs etc is appalling.
Mia - 27-Oct-16 @ 10:17 AM
Hello, I need an answer please: Until what time is aloud to cook in a shared house as my flatemate is cooking every evening around 10pm to midnight. He is living upstairs and we downstairs, get the rooms filled with foodsmell and making noise as well.
Su - 26-Oct-16 @ 8:50 PM
The property next door had asbestos buildings at the back it belonged to an old couple who died and lay empty for many years. A builder bought it and obtained planning although no notices were published. On entering the land all the old land drains and cess pit were left and asbestos and other builders rubbish were scattered all over the property at the back and over onto our land. He encroached onto both neighbours properties. They were violent and abusive and attacked us with dangerous dogs for which he was prosecuted.& after living there forfour years, soldrat infestations, broken land drains and raw sewage overflowing down the highwaybuilding up as black slime in his garden. The new owners have encroached my land and demolished items on it, erecting fencing panels dividing me from my land, not on the boundary. I have twice asked them to observe the boundary and not encroach our land. They say there were no arguments even though the CPS gave him a criminal record and fine. I have supplied them with my land title deeds. The building rubbish containing asbestos remains I did report it to the HSE but gotno response. Rats remain and the cessp it has been connected to the road rainwater drains and is polluting everyone's land and the local storm drains. Help I've had enough of assaults and threats
Sick of being pleasa - 25-Oct-16 @ 2:44 PM
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