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When you Should Contact your Local Environmental Health Department

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Dec 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.

What to Read Next...

Dealing With Infestation.

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[Add a Comment]
WW - Your Question:
My Neighbour has written me a letter because my cat has been at her bin. I am disabled and in a wheel chair. She doesn't have a plastic bin for her rubbish and keeps reporting me to the housing association. This is causing me great distress. What should I do?

Our Response:
Is this a bin outdoors or indoors? If it's outdoors, then other cats will also be able to get at the bins anyway.Cats by their nature are roamers and there are no laws that say cat owners should prevent this (many would say unfortunately).
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-17 @ 12:39 PM
Me - Your Question:
My downstairs neighbor has a dog that constantly barks at any given time. There are 3 adults in a one bedroom apartment and the young man makes it his business to slam the door when he enters and leaves. He’s gone so far as to open and slam the door consecutively. My apartment smells or urine, there is dog feces in front of there door. I also smell their cigarette smoke through my vents. I have a 11 month old and this is very unhealthy for her to be around. I’d like to know who other than the apartment manager do I contact about this.

Our Response:
Has the apartment manager been contact though? What has he/she done about it? Environmental health may be able to act in respect of the barking dogs and faeces.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-17 @ 12:10 PM
My Neighbour has written me a letter because my cat has been at her bin. I am disabled and in awheel chair. She doesn't have a plastic bin for her rubbish and keeps reporting me to the housing association. This is causing me great distress. What should i do?
WW - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:32 PM
My downstairs neighbor has a dog that constantly barks at any given time. There are 3 adults in a one bedroom apartment and the young man makes it his business to slam the door when he enters and leaves. He’s gone so far as to open and slam the door consecutively. My apartment smells or urine, there is dog feces in front of there door. I also smell their cigarette smoke through my vents. I have a 11 month old and this is very unhealthy for her to be around. I’d like to know who other than the apartment manager do I contact about this.
Me - 12-Dec-17 @ 4:42 PM
Anonymous- Your Question:
My nextdoor but one neighbour has built a large shed in his garden, no problem but what is a problem is he now has a wood burner in it which puffs out smoke all day long, especially at weekends. This means we are unable to have any windows opens and the smoke still gets in our cottage. We spend a lot of time outside usually but are now constantly in a smokey environment. We live in a small row of cottages in a rural area. Please advise.

Our Response:
What did your local environmental health department say about this?
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Dec-17 @ 11:11 AM
Griffer30 - Your Question:
My neighbour's garden is completely overgrown with plants, weeds, dead trees etc. Many years ago they bought a slide for their grandchildren which is no longer visible in their back garden due to the height of this mess. It stinks to high heaven and I am worried about pests as I have, on many occasions, seen rodents and vermin crawling. It's like the Amazon rainforest there and the only thing that disconnects my neighbour's house to my own is a small link fence. What legal action can be done in order to fix this issue?

Our Response:
Our article on Overgrown and Messy Gardens should help. Regarding the fence, if it's your fence/ your responsibility...there is nothing to prevent you erecting another one in its place. If the fence is your neighbour's, you can construct a fence of your own on your side of the boundary.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Dec-17 @ 11:05 AM
Phoenix - Your Question:
My neighbour has just installed a woodburner. The chimney has been added onto their single storey extension. Does the small metal flue have to be 1.meter above the tallest part of their property? And is my area a smoke controlled area? How do I find out if it is. Thank you

Our Response:
The planning and building control office at your local council will be able to help with these queries.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Dec-17 @ 10:56 AM
My nextdoor but one neighbour has built a large shed in his garden, no problem but what is a problem is he now has a wood burner in it which puffs out smoke all day long, especially at weekends. This means we are unable to have any windows opens and the smoke still gets in our cottage. We spend a lot of time outside usually but are now constantly in a smokey environment. We live in a small row of cottages in a rural area. Please advise.
Anonymous - 9-Dec-17 @ 5:47 PM
My neighbour's garden is completely overgrown with plants, weeds, dead trees etc. Many years ago they bought a slide for their grandchildren which is no longer visible in their back garden due to the height of this mess. It stinks to high heaven and I am worried about pests as I have, on many occasions, seen rodents and vermin crawling. It's like the Amazon rainforest there and the only thing that disconnects my neighbour's house to my own is a small link fence. What legal action can be done in order to fix this issue?
Griffer30 - 9-Dec-17 @ 4:07 PM
My neighbour has just installed a woodburner. The chimney has been added onto their single storey extension. Does the small metal flue have to be 1.meter above the tallest part of their property? And is my area a smoke controlled area? How do I find out if it is. Thank you
Phoenix - 9-Dec-17 @ 1:21 PM
Aly - Your Question:
My neighbours bathroom has severely flooded my kitchen. They have no building or content insurance and I have had to move out because the damage is so bad.they have still made no attempt to repair the water damage to their property which means my side will take longer to dry I had to contact my insurance to get my repairs done and I have a £750 excess I'm at my wits end with worry that they won't do anything and I will end up paying for 2 properties for months ie. my mortgage and the rent for the place I have had to move into along with all the utilities for both I am a single foster carer and I don't haveven money to spare. help!!

Our Response:
Check your own insurance company's advice first, your policy may include additional legal cover meaning the insurer can write to your neighbour etc. If they can't help and you are renting, try your landlord. Sometimes landlords are responsible for repairing damage caused by your neighbours, although any belongings that are damaged as a result are not their responsibility to replace.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Dec-17 @ 10:34 AM
My neighbours bathroom has severelyflooded my kitchen. They have no building or content insurance and i have had to move out because the damage is so bad .they have still made no attempt to repair the water damage to their property which means my side will takelonger to dry I had to contact my insurance to get my repairs done and I have a £750 excess I'm at my wits end with worry that they won't do anything and I will end up paying for 2 properties formonths ie. my mortgage and the rent for the place I have had to move into along with all the utilities for both I am a single foster carer and I don't haveven money to spare.help!!
Aly - 7-Dec-17 @ 12:10 AM
Nats - Your Question:
I know I should not do this bit her goes my flat is infested by mice I have a 9month old child I wanted to resolve my self but its not working so I was looking to were they could be coming from, one day I was in garden and I looked throw my neighbour window and the flat was full of rubish takaway boxes all over his flat with food I have took pictures of it just wondering what can I do now?

Our Response:
Tell your environmental health officer as detailed in the above article,they should be able to take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Nov-17 @ 2:31 PM
I know I should not do this bit her goes my flat is infested by mice I have a 9month old child I wanted to resolve my self but its not working so I was looking to were they could be coming from, one day I was in garden and I looked throw my neighbour window and the flat was full of rubish takaway boxes all over his flat with food I have took pictures of it just wondering what can I do now?
Nats - 23-Nov-17 @ 8:08 PM
Lou - Your Question:
My next door neighbors garden is full of dog poo its so bad that it stinks of poo constantly outside. We are unable to enjoy our garden due to the smell. Is is a mid terrace and the poo also covers access for the other terrace houses. It is impossible to use the access because the poo covers every inch of the floor. His dog also sometimes poos on our garden and we have to ask him to clean it up or do it our self's. His landlord is not taking care of his house either he has complained multiple times about water leakage from the light fittings and other issues. As a terrace it worries me that there are other issues that could put my house and family at risk. I have two small children. I just don't know what to do I have spoken to him and the lettings agency multiple times over the last couple of years.

Our Response:
Talk to your council's environmental health department...they will be able to take action against the dog owners and also the landlord to prompt the repairs.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Nov-17 @ 10:59 AM
My next door neighbors garden is full of dog poo its so bad that it stinks of poo constantly outside. We are unable to enjoy our garden due to the smell. Is is a mid terrace and the poo also covers access for the other terrace houses. It is impossible to use the access because the poo covers every inch of the floor. His dog also sometimes poos on our garden and we have to ask him to clean it up or do it our self's. His landlord is not taking care of his house either he has complained multiple times about water leakage from the light fittings and other issues. As a terrace it worries me that there are other issues that could put my house and family at risk. I have two small children. I just don't know what to do I have spoken to him and the lettings agency multiple times over the last couple of years.
Lou - 16-Nov-17 @ 9:41 AM
I have an issue with our neighbours as we are a semi detatched house. They have parties at night and have loud music on , shouting until about 4am this occurs probably once a month but now its happening in theweek nights too ata times. Weekends are one thing but week nights another. The bloke concerned is a bit of a hot head and a nutter, I think there could be drugs involved. They now last night were shouting and banging all night till about 5am. Their behaviour sounded threatening which is why I do not want to approach them, any advise ?
not - 15-Nov-17 @ 9:08 AM
Annonymous - Your Question:
My neighbours dogs keeps on pooing in our front driveway despite many times myself asking them to keep their dog under control.They let it walk out of their driveway and up and down the pavement on it's own, therefore pooing not only in our driveway but others too and we are all fed up with it.Please can you help and point me in the right direction?

Our Response:
Yes you can complain to your local environmental health officer, they have powers to issue on the spot penalties for dog fouling.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:27 PM
My neighbours dogs keeps on pooing in our front driveway despite many times myself asking them to keep their dog under control. They let it walk out of their driveway and up and down the pavement on it's own, therefore pooing not only in our driveway but others too and we are all fed up with it. Please can you help and point me in the right direction?
Annonymous - 12-Nov-17 @ 8:14 PM
Hi. My neighbour's house is in a terrible state.She is in her early 40 and has 2 children who are cared for well but the environment they are living in is filthydirty with animal waste all over the house.The smell in there is overwhelming of dirt urine and faeces. There are piles of clothes and rubbish in every room and there is food wasteall over the kitchen. It is a fire hazard and I can smell it in my house. She is a nice person and I just think she needs help but don't know who to turn to. I want to help her but how can i approach this?
H8ze - 24-Oct-17 @ 1:38 PM
Hi My friend has a flat that she owns.Suddenly the neighbors have started to get really controlling. Any movement around - anything she does, they are angry. They write letters and complain. She feels depressed and sad.I am worried about her.Any advice on the best way forward?She has been to a solicitor but nothing so far has helped.
Mrs D - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:23 PM
Sarah - Your Question:
My neighbor used to be a alcoholic and has left his garden to over grow and has dumped loads of rubbish in it he has bind weed growing at such a alarming rate it keeps growing over to our garden it's is ruining our fence and decking , the council have been an removed some rubbish for him out of his garden for free and chopped some trees down but it's still a disgusting mess, my husband and I have seen rats scurrying around at night and lord knows what else. We just want to know what we can do as our neighbor has no intention of doing anything with his garden.

Our Response:
You can try the environmental health department again. Otherwise, private legal action might be your next option.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:15 AM
My neighbor used to be a alcoholic and has left his garden to over grow and has dumped loads of rubbish in it he has bind weed growing at such a alarming rate it keeps growing over to our garden it's is ruining our fence and decking , the council have been an removed some rubbish for him out of his garden for free and chopped some trees down but it's still a disgusting mess, my husband and I have seen rats scurrying around at night and lord knows what else . We just want to know what we can do as our neighbor has no intention of doing anything with his garden .
Sarah - 2-Sep-17 @ 7:28 PM
RandA - Your Question:
My neighbour's garden is well overgrown some of the weeds are higher than his shed in the back garden and his front garden is well overgrown aswell. There is brambles, a bush and thorns growing over to our garden and started growing next to our fence, we have asked him if he could maybe tidy it up a bit which he agreed to do so but that was back in April with no attemt yet. we are in a Private Let and spoke to our land lord who advised him to tidy up a bit. he cut down a few brances from his tree in the front garden but left the branches just land wherever. There has been hedgehogs coming into our garden and trying to get into our veggies in the greenhouse I'm not 100% certain but sure there is mice. what can we do?

Our Response:
You may be able to report this to your environmental health officer as per the above article. Also read our guide: Overgrown and Messy Gardens, here
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Aug-17 @ 12:45 PM
My neighbour's garden is well overgrown some of the weeds are higher than his shed in the back garden and his front garden is well overgrown aswell. There is brambles, a bush and thorns growing over to our garden and started growing next to our fence, we have asked him if he could maybe tidy it up a bit which he agreed to do so but that was back in April with no attemtyet.. we are in a Private Let and spoke to our land lord who advised him to tidy up a bit.. he cut down a few brances from his tree in the front garden but left the branches just land wherever. There has been hedgehogs coming into our garden and trying to get into our veggies in the greenhouse I'm not 100% certain but sure there is mice.. what can we do?
RandA - 7-Aug-17 @ 7:57 PM
Lou - Your Question:
HiMy neighbour has lived next door for 7 years now and his garden has never been touched. We have ivy penetrating through our porch and fence by his 8ft high front garden full of brambles and swarming with flies. The back garden is terrible with bear bind coming through our fence and 7 ft + bushes slowly pushing our fence down. The last straw is now we have rats coming into our garden from his and the overwhelming smell of urine. He has been approached on a number of occasions, and his response is "I ain't touching it"

Our Response:
If he rents, contact his landlord. You can cut back any branches that grow over your side of the boundary but if you have concerns about health/sanitation/vermin, contact your environmental health officer.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Aug-17 @ 2:20 PM
Kes - Your Question:
The house next door is rented they have been there a few months and are disposing of the waste in the back garden. Initially it was just the smell but now we have maggots and flies in our garden and house I have contacted the council and still nothing is being done in don't care how they want to live but it is affecting us greatly.where do I go for help?

Our Response:
Who did you contact at the council? Was environmental health or is the neighbour a council tenant? Environmental health should deal with this. Contact the neighbour's landlord if you haven't done so already.
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Aug-17 @ 11:04 AM
Hi My neighbour has lived next door for 7 years now and his garden has never been touched. We have ivy penetrating through our porch and fence by his 8ft high front garden full of brambles and swarming with flies. The back garden is terrible with bear bind coming through our fence and 7 ft + bushes slowly pushing our fence down. The last straw is now we have rats coming into our garden from his and the overwhelming smell of urine. He has been approached on a number of occasions, and his response is "I ain't touching it"
Lou - 1-Aug-17 @ 12:51 PM
The house next door is rented they have been there a few months and are disposing of the waste in the back garden. Initially it was just the smell but now we have maggots and flies in our garden and house I have contacted the council and still nothing is being done in don't care how they want to live but it is affecting us greatly.where do I go for help?
Kes - 29-Jul-17 @ 9:34 PM
bananna man - Your Question:
My neighbour has 4 dogs and never ever cleans up there dog mess the back garden and down the side of the house has dog mess everywhere.The worse part is the smell that comes in my house so I cant even open my widows the over look the back garden even just going to my rubbish bins the smell is vile.Am not sure what to do

Our Response:
Firstly mention it to your neighbour if you feel comfortable. You could do this by dropping them a note, please see our dog fouling letter template for more help on this. If that does not resolve things, contact your local environmental health department.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Jul-17 @ 12:12 PM
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