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When you Should Contact your Local Environmental Health Department

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 17 Aug 2018 | 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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I have been experiencing a difficult situation for almost 3 months. My neighbour has been spraying aerosols through my windows, door and also to point it's come through my walls,vents and cavities. I have tried asking what it is and why but was met with a very evasive and negative response(neighbours for 20 years and have never had a fall out). It has reached a point of me leaving my home. I've also had some health problems since this has started. It's a very bizarre thing and it's not a dirty home issue as my house is spotless. Really hope it gets sorted soon as it's been a nightmare
dubery - 17-Aug-18 @ 11:54 PM
Our next door neighbours throw unbagged rubbish in their bin, it constantly smells. Unfortunately they are not the kind of people you want to confront on anything! With the recent hot weather their wheelie bin is overflowing with maggots and we share the area outside our front doors. In this weather we try not to use our front door at all because of the smell and maggots. If we report it or complain they will know it is us and life will be unpleasant. Is there any deterrent that I can put around our door mat etc. to keep them firmly on their side?!!! Where do we stand on this anyway? (Will be trying ant powder as bleach and hot water don’t seem to have a great effect).Thanks.
Lindylou - 16-Aug-18 @ 10:54 PM
The end of our garden backs onto an elderly persons garden. Their bushes briars and overgrown weeds are growing across the roof of my summerhouse. There has been an ongoing problem with rats over many years because their garden is not maintained. I knocked to speak with them to see if they could arrange to get them cut back, but they did not answer. I then put a polite note in their letter box asking if they could get them trimmed. I have had a note back saying they are our briars and bushes but they are in their garden growing over the roof of a disused outhouse in their garden onto my summerhouse roof. What can I do?
Nannydebdeb - 15-Aug-18 @ 9:29 PM
Squeak - Your Question:
My neighbours who own there own property have a load of wood on there front garden which is a fire hazzard its right up againt the hedge is there anyone I can report them to to get rid of it please

Our Response:
Have you spoken to your neighbours about this? If you think it's a genuine fire hazard talk to your local council, otherwise there's not a great deal you can do about this other than follow the advice in our guide here
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Aug-18 @ 10:16 AM
My neighbours who own there own property have a load of wood on there front garden which is a fire hazzard its right up againt the hedge is there anyone i can report them to to get rid of it please
Squeak - 14-Aug-18 @ 1:46 PM
Becky1992 - Your Question:
Our neighbours are constantly making noise. They used a jet spray for 8 hrs straight cleaning their tiny driveway and then for 3 hrs the next day. Their fire pit is right by our fence and they burn rubber and treated wood which my dad said is against the law?? The chemicals the neighbour uses is horrible. I’ve had to close all my doors and windows in the heatwave because of the smell making my 97 year old grandma feel ill. The smoke goes all over our washing too when it’s out to dry. They also have BBQ’s late at night and put it near the fence our end. Their kids are very noisy, they throw toys over the fence and wind my dog up by making dog noises to set her off. The parents don’t tell them off for shouting or screaming. The kids are about 7 and 10. Yes all kids are annoying sometimes but this is everyday. Also their kids stay up late in the garden when the parents sit around the fire pit drinking wine and being loud. The kids copy the parents. I live in a respectable area and things have got worse since they moved in 3 years ago. They have NO respect for us. Our houses are detached but close together. What can I do to stop this?

Our Response:
Have your contacted environmental health as in the above article?
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Aug-18 @ 11:37 AM
Our neighbours are constantly making noise. They used a jet spray for 8 hrs straight cleaning their tiny driveway and then for 3 hrs the next day. Their fire pit is right by our fence and they burn rubber and treated wood which my dad said is against the law?? The chemicals the neighbour uses is horrible. I’ve had to close all my doors and windows in the heatwave because of the smell making my 97 year old grandma feel ill. The smoke goes all over our washing too when it’s out to dry. They also have BBQ’s late at night and put it near the fence our end. Their kids are very noisy, they throw toys over the fence and wind my dog up by making dog noises to set her off. The parents don’t tell them off for shouting or screaming. The kids are about 7 and 10. Yes all kids are annoying sometimes but this is everyday. Also their kids stay up late in the garden when the parents sit around the fire pit drinking wine and being loud. The kids copy the parents. I live in a respectable area and things have got worse since they moved in 3 years ago. They have NO respect for us. Our houses are detached but close together.What can I do to stop this?
Becky1992 - 11-Aug-18 @ 7:05 PM
Dash Nor Mezimi - Your Question:
Hi I have just moved in and my and we are being bitten by what we think are mosquitos and they are real bad Our next dor has a very overgrown front and back garden around 5 meters high the height of the house and we think the insects are living there I have tried to cut it and clear it for him but he told me he doesn’t want me to touch it Where can I ask for help on this issue as I don’t want to upset him either as he is old

Our Response:
There really isn't much you can do about this unless there is a health hazard (i.e. the garden is habouring vermin).See our guide Overgrown and messy gardens
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:16 AM
Hi I have just moved in and my and we are being bitten by what we think are mosquitos and they are real bad Our next dor has a very overgrown front and back garden around 5 meters high the height of the house and we think the insects are living there I have tried to cut it and clear it for him but he told me he doesn’t want me to touch it Where can I ask for help on this issue as I don’t want to upset him either as he is old
Dash Nor Mezimi - 8-Aug-18 @ 5:25 PM
I have a hedge which I keep trimmed and within my property. But when I trim it leaves fall on my neighbours garden and he gets very aggressive about this insisting I remove them. There have been issues we have asked him to resolve which he hasn't done and I wish to know if I am obliged to remove the leaves because he says so?
hedger - 6-Aug-18 @ 4:56 PM
Paddy - Your Question:
My next door neighbour is constantly throwing the contents of his bin into my garden. Unfortunately he has dementia so I would like to handle this issue delicately.

Our Response:
Does your neighbour have a support worker or family member that could have a word with him? We guess his dementia means he doesn't realise that this is not what he's supposed to do with the his rubbish.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Aug-18 @ 2:06 PM
My next door neighbour is constantly throwing the contents of his bin into my garden. Unfortunately he has dementia so I would like to handle this issue delicately.
Paddy - 4-Aug-18 @ 1:13 PM
pluckypuddin - Your Question:
We have ongoing problems with our neighbours, but found the asbu unit at the council quite unhelpful. Last year we spent several months complaining because they were using both our front and back garden to dispose of their cigarette butts. We have had no end of broken toys, keys, clothing items and rubbish thrown into the garden. I do not believe it to be the adult of the property (although at times I’m not sure) but his children have been witnessed doing it and told off for it. We have issues with them trespassing, they damaged a fence that was on their boundary wall but put the remains in our garden, when we returned them, they put them back in our garden. We have been woken by the children screaming and shouting early in the morning and when we posted a note through the door we got a snotty reply back. The landlord is near to useless - says all the right things but doesn’t follow through on what he says. The house is overcrowded (one adult and up to 5 children in a two bedroom house) not includeing the multitude of people/other children that go round and follow suit in throwing things in our garden. Most recently we went round to speak with the tenant as his children were throwing a used nappy into our garden. He apologised and told us to “throw it back”! I do not want to handle someone else’s child dirty nappy (it was not in a nappy bag) but we returned it when the garden was quiet as didn’t want the children to see it as a game.for the second time this evening it has come back over. I fail to see how people can be so oblivious to the nusciance that they are causing other people in terms of behaviour like this. I really need to know who it is I go to for support and to get this under control as we actively avoid our garden when they are out which is the majority of the time. I am if ill health and do not have the inclination or energy to keep going round asking him to control his children. I no longer enjoy my home, and when I hear them out in the garden it immediately makes me tense because I’m wondering what I’m going to have to clear up or what damage they have caused. Please help.

Our Response:
Sorry but your question is too long can you abbreviate it and re-post with a specific question if you have one. If you're simply sharing your own experiences that's fine.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Aug-18 @ 11:52 AM
ALI - Your Question:
My new neighbours haven't moved in yet and we've just noticed they have wasps coming in and out of the air brick on their back wall.this is a private property where they've bought their own house , as I don't have a contact number for them and have no idea how to inform them of the situation I was wondering if there was something I could do to get rid of the wasps myself , I would have to enter their back garden to do this , and not sure if this would be legal.or maybe call someone from outside in to deal with it. Because it's private I'm not sure if they'd have to give permission or even pay to get this dealt with themselves.

Our Response:
Are the wasps affecting you? If so, contact environmental health and ask them for advice on what you can do. Alternatively, if you're just concerned about the new neighbours when they move, the estate agent that sold the property might be willing to pass on the information for you.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Aug-18 @ 10:44 AM
We have ongoing problems with our neighbours, but found the asbu unit at the council quite unhelpful. Last year we spent several months complaining because they were using both our front and back garden to dispose of their cigarette butts. We have had no end of broken toys, keys, clothing items and rubbish thrown into the garden. I do not believe it to be the adult of the property (although at times I’m not sure) but his children have been witnessed doing it and told off for it. We have issues with them trespassing, they damaged a fence that was on their boundary wall but put the remains in our garden, when we returned them, they put them back in our garden. We have been woken by the children screaming and shouting early in the morning and when we posted a note through the door we got a snotty reply back. The landlord is near to useless - says all the right things but doesn’t follow through on what he says. The house is overcrowded (one adult and up to 5 children in a two bedroom house) not includeing the multitude of people/other children that go round and follow suit in throwing things in our garden. Most recently we went round to speak with the tenant as his children were throwing a used nappy into our garden. He apologised and told us to “throw it back”! I do not want to handle someone else’s child dirty nappy (it was not in a nappy bag) but we returned it when the garden was quiet as didn’t want the children to see it as a game....for the second time this evening it has come back over. I fail to see how people can be so oblivious to the nusciance that they are causing other people in terms of behaviour like this. I really need to know who it is I go to for support and to get this under control as we actively avoid our garden when they are out which is the majority of the time. I am if ill health and do not have the inclination or energy to keep going round asking him to control his children. I no longer enjoy my home, and when I hear them out in the garden it immediately makes me tense because I’m wondering what I’m going to have to clear up or what damage they have caused. Please help.
pluckypuddin - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:15 PM
JH - Your Question:
My neighbour has refused to build a fence on the boundary line for which he is responsible. His garden is full of weeds and they are invading our garden (brambles, bindweed and similar.) What is his legal responsibility?

Our Response:
This depends on the terms of his title deeds. A property owner is under no obligation under law to fence in their property except to keep in livestock. If the title deeds contain a condition about erecting/maintaining a fence then of course he should.
ProblemNeighbours - 31-Jul-18 @ 12:00 PM
My new neighbours haven't moved in yet and we've just noticed they have wasps coming in and out of the air brick on their back wall ....this is a private property where they've bought their own house , as I don't have a contact number for them and have no idea how to inform them of the situation I was wondering if there was something I could do to get rid of the wasps myself , I would have to enter their back garden to do this , and not sure if this would be legal...or maybe call someone from outside in to deal with it . Because it's private I'm not sure if they'd have to give permission or even pay to get this dealt with themselves.
ALI - 31-Jul-18 @ 6:56 AM
My neighbour has refused to build a fence on the boundary line for which he is responsible. His garden is full of weeds and they are invading our garden (brambles, bindweed and similar.) What is his legal responsibility?
JH - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:26 AM
Hamne - Your Question:
I have a neighber shouting for her cats till early hours in the morning this has been ongoing now for a while she doesn't care about anyone else but herself what can I do

Our Response:
If this is a common occurrence (i.e it happens most nights and goes on til the small hours), then environmental health will take it seriously and investigate. If investigations prove the noise is intrusive to neighbours, they should be able to take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Jul-18 @ 10:22 AM
I have a neighber shouting for her cats till early hours in the morning this has been ongoing now for a while she doesn't care about anyone else but herself what can I do
Hamne - 23-Jul-18 @ 12:22 AM
About a year ago one of the houses on the street sold to a couple and all of a sudden within the last six weeks they have been leaving their bins outside my bushes which affects the enjoyment of my garden. They started off with one bin, then two, now all four are not in their property to the edge of the garage they presumably rent but it’s right behind my bushes and garden. They walk to and from their house constantly slamming the bins and looking into my windows in a manner that suggests they know exactly what they are doing and just looking to cause trouble for someone. Is there any way I can get the bins removed as they are starting to smell and it’s a bit rude that everyone else has to keep their bins in their gardens but not this couple?
Fed up - 11-Jul-18 @ 6:05 PM
My neighbour at number 3 Braithwaite street keeps weeing on my patio door handles been out to Bleach it for the 20th time this month fed up wi it now just been to put my rubbish in bin had to bin my flipflops yet again wet through on my drive n no rain! What can I do about this problem I have told police but it keeps happening is it an offence? Please help.
Palmer - 11-Jul-18 @ 12:00 AM
On the 29 May 2018 I posted a letter through my neighbours door asking them to please do something about an overhanging branch of an extremely overgrown large tree that is protruding at a 90o angle over their fence into my garden. I also offered my help should they need it. At the end of all of our gardens is a brick wall separating our properties from those on Steve Beko Way. As the tree is unkept the weeds from the other side of this wall has crept onto the overhanging branch and is hanging over my garden shed (causing the wood to rot) and in the area in front of my back gate which givers me access to a shared alleyway onto the street. As I am the middle of 3 terrace houses this is my only way of moving rubbish without going through my house and I also feel in an emergency my getaway from fire or other dangers. They have not replied to my letter or attempted any contact. Can Environmental Health please intervene on my behalf?
N/A - 10-Jul-18 @ 11:38 AM
My neighbours garden is worse than a jungle and junkyard combined. Its disgusting and smelly and looks extremely dangerous. Because of his garden, rats and mice were attracted but now theyre gone however, a fox family have started living there. 2 adult foxes and their 3 baby foxes. The foxes poo in our garden, they steal my drain lids, my cats food, they even stole my friends new shoe when he left it out in the garden after playing football. The neighbour told us countless of times to NOT cal the council on him and that hes "sorting" it out. But he isnt. My cats even got attacked by the foxes. I can send pictures and videos of his garden via email if you want. I just dont know who to call because there doesnt seem to be an option for this kind of situation at the birmingham city council. Ive had enough. Please tell me what I can do.
Maya - 7-Jul-18 @ 1:36 PM
My neighbors- family (two adults one small child) use the drain outside as there toilet ! Yes all three!!!! Mom dad and child!!!!!!!!!! It smells as they are heavy drinkers and very loud when they go? Is there anything I can do since it is on there property??? Opened my little boys curtains this morning to see their little one peeing
Ody - 6-Jul-18 @ 2:51 PM
I have just done a house swap and little I knew that my new neighbor downstairs is a hoarder and is refusing access to a blocked drain downstairs in his property .There is at least 20 cm in depth and the surface is 4-5 meters in length of festering sewage water. The smell is unreal. He doesn't open his door hardly anyone. The contractors from Lambeth are coming but to no availed in him opening his door. I cannot open the windows ,my kids are feeling sick by the smell ,me as well . We have had no rain for ages and wondering what will happen when it does ? What can I do to make the process faster ?
Nads - 6-Jul-18 @ 12:03 PM
We live in a terrace house and our neighbors bin is right outside next to our door. Lately, we have noticed that her bin smells and it makes the flies go inside our house everytime we open our window and not really nice to receive visitors with that foul smell of the bin. What can we do about this? We don't really speak to each other that much because she's always in the house or we are always out and about. We are embarrassed to approach her about it. Can the environmental health team do anything about this?
Lex - 4-Jul-18 @ 9:41 PM
Our neighbours a single middle aged man. He owns his bungalow we rent ours. We live in a very quiet cul-de-sac mainly elderly people. We are in our 60s.We love nice things such as flowers. hanging baskets. Nice smells such as potpourri and scented candles. He has a bare garden of pebbles always going round with weedkiller his back garden is like a quarry. Came in one day to find he had put a 2 foot fence on his side of his fence. Not too bothered about that but when our back door is open he sits in a corner behind the fence and pretends he's choking from the scented smells which he says affects his eyes. If anyone parks a car directly outside his bungalow he comes out to move them on he says it's his property. He doesn't have a TV or mobile phone not that it matters but it does show a state of mind for a young man who by the way does drive a car. He's built a high fence around himself. He won't answer the door to anyone. A notice on his door says if you need to speak to him make an appointment. How do you do that. I've tried to talk to him and he seems quite normal and then a few weeks later we get searing and snide comments from behind the fence. When we go out,(we both work. He doesn't.) he stands at the window holding his nose. And like today he's behind the fence calling us mingers.. What do we do.
Gloria Smith - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:43 PM
Tesla girl - Your Question:
I have a neighbor below me that makes,constant loud noises in the early morning hours.loud banging objects ,loud blender going at 7am and loud door slamming.since I can't record it how can I prove this ongoing harrassment.

Our Response:
When you say early morning hours, how early? A blender going and doors slamming at 7am on a week day may not be considered sufficient noise for them to take action.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jul-18 @ 12:59 PM
I have a neighbor below me that makes,constant loud noises in the early morning hours...loud banging objects ,loud blender going at 7am and loud door slamming...since I can't record it how can I prove this ongoing harrassment..
Tesla girl - 3-Jul-18 @ 2:13 PM
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