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How to Deal With Environmental Nuisances Caused by Neighbours

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 15 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Graffiti Tipping Waste Fly Tipping

Graffiti and fly-posting, fly-tipping and burnt out or abandoned vehicles are just some issues which can cause problems among neighbours, and can ruin a community.

These are all criminal offences and can become a blight on a neighbourhood. Although these crimes may seem somewhat incidental to others that may be prevalent within a particular community, they can start the ball rolling into the rapid deterioration of a neighbourhood.

Dealing With Graffiti and Fly-posting

Graffiti are drawings or words that have been written, painted, scratched or sprayed onto the surface of any building, and fly-posting is the illegal promotion of events which are often attached or glued onto buildings or lamp posts in poster form without the express permission of the local authority or the owner of the building or property in question.

Both graffiti and fly-posting are criminal offences which can lead to fixed penalty notices of £80 being issued to the perpetrators by the local authority or police and, in some cases, a magistrate can impose even higher fines. If you witness graffiti or fly-posting activity, you should Report It To Your Local Authority's Environmental Health Officer.

Your local council is usually responsible for cleaning up public buildings, street furniture and public monuments, although in some cases, such as with telephone boxes and bus shelters, for example, it’s the responsibility of the company who have placed them there to remove the graffiti or posters. You should report any instances to your local authority who will get in touch with the appropriate companies, if it’s not their direct responsibility to remove it.

If a person’s own property has been defaced by graffiti, many councils will offer a free or subsidised service to help with the removal, although you would need to check first.

Dealing with Fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste materials, often discarded bulky furniture, or any other form of rubbish in an area which has not been licensed for these purposes. Often it involves a vehicle simply dumping rubbish at the side of the road or in a nearby field or patch of waste land. This is a serious offence and fines of up to £20,000 can be imposed on fly-tippers, as well as their vehicles being seized.

If you witness a fly-tipping incident, you should take down as many details as possible. This should include the time, date and location of where the incident took place, as well as a description of the vehicle, people, material and, if possible, the registration number. Obviously, the more detail you can recall, the more likelihood of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Contact your local authority as soon as you can after you have witnessed a case of fly-tipping. It’s important to do this quickly as there could be dangerous items such as disused syringes, broken glass, asbestos or toxic chemicals in the rubbish or, alternatively, if the rubbish has been dumped near water, it could contaminate the local water supply. What you shouldn’t do is to interfere with the rubbish because of the dangers of the waste as outlined above.

Dealing with Abandoned Vehicles

There are several reasons why a vehicle may be abandoned. It may have been stolen and used as part of a crime, or the owner may leave an unlicensed or untaxed vehicle rather than spending money having it towed away and scrapped.

The real issues surrounding abandoned vehicles is that they could be part of a crime scene, they attract vandalism and rubbish, and they may be at risk of possible explosion.

If you know or suspect a vehicle has been abandoned, you should contact your local authority who will investigate matters further. They will usually work in conjunction with the police and DVLA to establish whether or not a vehicle constitutes being abandoned, and will try to trace the owner before removing it. Obviously, if the vehicle has not been stolen or involved in any form of criminal activity and the owner can be traced, they will be liable for any removal or disposal costs.

If the vehicle is deemed to have some monetary value and the owner is traced, they’ll be given a week’s notice to remove the vehicle themselves. However, if the vehicle is only fit for the scrapyard, it can be removed by the local authority without any need to give notice to the owner.

We all want to live in neighbourhoods which are safe, clean and environmentally friendly so if you see any instances of the above, the sooner you contact your local authority, the sooner you can be rid of the problem and prevent a particular problem from escalating.

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me - Your Question:
A development plan was first submitted 18 months ago to knock down a bungalow and replace it with 2 houses. The council rejected the plan. Another plan was submitted that was also rejected and we are currently waiting for a decision on the third plan. However the problem is that the developers that live there have bullied both me and the other neighbor consistently during the whole process. It is often subtle but the man does it to wear us down. He only does it to the women of the households. I have been driven at when out on my bike, he piles rubbish at the boundary fences to irritate us, he spies on us all when we are in our gardens, he swears at us so we can hear when he is in his garden, he spies on the other neighbors kids, he installed a cctv camera that looks directly onto the pavement (we live in a cul de sac so he can see what we are all doing), he has thrown something at me. These are just a few things that spring to mind. This is just because he blames us all that his development plans have been rejected, instead of accepting that the plans are too much for the size of the space, and it is his way of getting back at us. What can we do about this low level bully?

Our Response:
Why not report him to the police (non emergency 101 or contact your local PCSO). You could also report your concerns to the planning department. If all else fails seek advice from a solicitor with a view to taking a private legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 19-Jun-17 @ 1:51 PM
A development plan was first submitted 18 months ago to knock down a bungalow and replace it with 2 houses.The council rejected the plan. Another plan was submitted that was also rejected and we are currently waiting for a decision on the third plan.However the problem is that the developers that live there have bullied both me and the other neighbor consistently during the whole process. It is often subtle but the man does it to wear us down. He only does it to the women of the households. I have been driven at when out on my bike, he piles rubbish at the boundary fences to irritate us, he spies on us all when we are in our gardens, he swears at us so we can hear when he is in his garden, he spies on the other neighbors kids, he installed a cctv camera that looks directly onto the pavement (we live in a cul de sac so he can see what we are all doing), he has thrown something at me. These are just a few things that spring to mind.This is just because he blames us all that his development plans have been rejected, instead of accepting that the plans are too much for the size of the space, and it is his way of getting back at us.What can we do about this low level bully?
me - 15-Jun-17 @ 6:17 PM
wines12 - Your Question:
I have a shared enclosed allyway which me and my neighbour share. my new neighbours have just moved in. they now place there bins in the allyway oppersite my side door to my kitchen. can they leave it there we have enough room to walk past but I'm worried that it's a fire risk plus the smells off the bins and the insects they attract

Our Response:
If these are council or rented properties, contact your landlord for information. In general shared alleyways should be kept completely clear and this is normally stated as part of a tenancy agreement. Likewise, if you own your property, the title deeds would normally include a clause about keeping the alleyway clear. Please see our letter template which will help you if you want to drop your neighbour a note about this issue Letter to Neighbour About Blocking Shared Access Way
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:26 PM
I have a shared enclosed allyway which me and my neighbour share. my new neighbours have just moved in. they now place there bins in the allyway oppersite my side door to my kitchen. can they leave it there we have enough room to walk past but I'm worried that it's a fire risk plus the smells off the bins and the insects they attract
wines12 - 4-Jun-17 @ 3:07 PM
We own our house and the next 3 house next to us are rented. We have shared access at the back of the property and have to walk past all the other 3 homes. 4 months ago someone moved into the end house and block the way with a old car ( we had to take the bin through the house on bin day). However thus was resolved. Now the person has filled the garden with used car tyres. They had blocked the joint access, have been rolling out into the road, and falling over in the night banging loudly. Noons sees the person in the end house as he only seems to leave the house at night. There are 2 children both under the age of 6 and its now a safety issue as well as a eyesore. Is there anything we can do ?
Den - 1-Jun-17 @ 11:12 PM
I came home from work on Sunday and saw a box of rubbish left outside by my drive on the foot path wat should I do and who should I contant
Tahira - 3-May-17 @ 7:25 PM
Martin Woodland - Your Question:
My neighbor has two old cars that aren't road worthy on his drive and it's driving me crazy. He's not doing them up to sell he's just had them till they broke, left them on his drive and bought a new one. Twice now. Can I report him or have anything done about it as I want to put my house up for sale and it's un slightly especially as one has been there over 3 years and has moss all over it.

Our Response:
You could try your environmental health department if it's unsightly or messy. Otherwise a private/civil action might be worth considering if it's affecting your lifestyle etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Mar-17 @ 12:12 PM
My neighbor has two old cars that aren't road worthy on his drive and it's driving me crazy. He's not doing them up to sell he's just had them till they broke, left them on his drive and bought a new one. Twice now. Can I report him or have anything done about it as I want to put my house up for sale and it's un slightly especially as one has been there over 3 years and has moss all over it.
Martin Woodland - 27-Mar-17 @ 6:55 PM
Happy - Your Question:
I own my own property but next door is rented out. There are 2 adults and 5 children. They seem to think it's normal to bang doors shout and wake us up every Sunday morning at 7. Landlord doesn't want to get involved as they are getting their rent. I'm so fed up have had to call the police due to disturbing noises. Had enough

Our Response:
Is this only on Sunday mornings? You could try reporting this to environmental health (rather than the police). We're not sure whether they'll be able to do anything if the noise is after 7am and is just family noise though.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Mar-17 @ 11:46 AM
I own my own property but next door is rented out.There are 2 adults and 5 children.They seem to think it's normal to bang doors shout and wake us up every Sunday morning at 7. Landlord doesn't want to get involved as they are getting their rent.I'm so fed up have had to call the police due to disturbing noises.Had enough
Happy - 21-Mar-17 @ 9:10 AM
Jussie - Your Question:
I moved into my temporary accommodation June last year. The property hadn't been lived in for awhile and there was slot of rubbish cleared out and dumped on the path at the side of the property, this has since been cleared, recently I have noticed garden waste, scrapes of wood, tv boxes and other waste gathering on my property. I don't know who's doing it bit I came home the other night to find a typed note saying that a neighbour at the back of me has been dumping the rubbish there. I'm not sure what to do as I have no proof it's them or if someone is just causing trouble

Our Response:
Report it to your landlord in the first instance. Is there a possiblity that a temporary CCTV camera could be isntalled? It's worth reporting this to your local police or police community support officer in case it escalates.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Mar-17 @ 12:13 PM
I moved into my temporary accommodation June last year. The property hadn't been lived in for awhile and there was slot of rubbish cleared out and dumped on the path at the side of the property, this has since been cleared, recently I have noticed garden waste, scrapes of wood, tv boxes and other waste gathering on my property. I don't know who's doing it bit I came home the other night to find a typed note saying that a neighbour at the back of me has been dumping the rubbish there. I'm not sure what to do as I have no proof it's them or if someone is just causing trouble
Jussie - 15-Mar-17 @ 3:55 PM
Ejm - Your Question:
My neighbours regularly dump old rotting food and cooked animal bones and carcasses into our back garden "to feed the foxes" but they leave the food items for months. Letting them decompose and attract rats. This is a danger to the dogs and young children who use the garden and letters from the factor company have been routinely ignored. What is the best course of action?

Our Response:
Make a complaint to your local environmental health department. They should take action on sanitation issues like this.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Feb-17 @ 12:23 PM
My neighbours regularly dump old rotting food and cooked animal bones and carcasses into our back garden "to feed the foxes" but they leave the food items for months. Letting them decompose and attract rats. This is a danger to the dogs and young children who use the garden and letters from the factor company have been routinely ignored. What is the best course of action?
Ejm - 13-Feb-17 @ 10:44 AM
Lynny - Your Question:
Hi.a bedding company recently opened near my house. Since then we are finding loads of dumped mattresses and bed bases, some on private land and some just thrown at the side the road. Some just dumped on our greenway and others deep into wooded areas. Im guessing the company take them in part ex ( although no proof) They are all within 200 yards of the company.I have contated 2 local council, 2 local paper and a local councillor.no one wants to know. I have been trying to get them to help since Aug 2016. They say private land.not our problem.Can anyone else help me please it is a disgrace and today even more were added. Where can I turn to next.

Our Response:
Are these public rights of way? Or well known walkers' routes?The council will normally act if that's the case. Complain to your local councillor or MP if you feel the council is not taking sufficient action. Remember to take pictures and note dates, wherever you see this has happened.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Feb-17 @ 2:11 PM
My neighbour has just converted his garage to a workshop (surfboard manufacture &a repair). We live in a small terrace, and toxic fumes from his fibreglass smelting are drifting into our house & garden. Can he legally do this? I have two kids under 5 and I can't open the windows or let them play in the garden most days. Who can I contact for help?
Myfanwy - 5-Feb-17 @ 5:34 PM
Hi.a bedding company recently opened near my house. Since then we are finding loads of dumped mattresses and bed bases, some on private land and some just thrown at the side the road. Some just dumped on our greenway and others deep into wooded areas. Im guessing the company take them in part ex ( although no proof) They are all within 200 yards of the company. I have contated 2 local council, 2 local paper and a local councillor.......no one wants to know. I have been trying to get them to help since Aug 2016. They say private land.....not our problem. Can anyone else help me please it is a disgrace and today even more were added. Where can i turn to next.
Lynny - 4-Feb-17 @ 4:22 AM
Kat - Your Question:
I would like some information on a situation that is on going. Our bin collection is once weekly alternate bins. We have an alley gate and residents and bin men have a key. Across the road are garden houses and tenants leave their bins at the kerbside, however one of the residents has had an alley gate key made and after every bin collection she brings over full bins over and takes between two and four bins from the alley which is causing the residents to have to dump rubbish bags as their bins have been taken. The council have been informed but nothing has happened is there any other path we could take to get this stopped because in the summer the stench was awful and we had a massive rat problem.Please help or advise. Thanks

Our Response:
If she doesn't live there and it's a health hazard the council should be able to take action. How did she get a key?
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Jan-17 @ 1:59 PM
I would like some information on a situation that is on going. Our bin collection is once weekly alternate bins. We have an alley gate and residents and bin men have a key. Across the road are garden houses and tenants leave their bins at the kerbside, however one of the residents has had an alley gate key made and after every bin collection she brings over full bins over and takes between two and four bins from the alley which is causing the residents to have to dump rubbish bags as their bins have been taken. The council have been informed but nothing has happened is there any other path we could take to get this stopped because in the summer the stench was awful and we had a massive rat problem. Please help or advise. Thanks
Kat - 16-Jan-17 @ 5:31 PM
I share a driveway with four houses. Two houses sit on street view the other two on flag lots. My house is flag lot. The owners of the houses on st are related, father house in front of me and his daughter lives next door to him. They are constantly monitoring our comings and goings and tell us what speed to use. They recently took down the cluster mail box we all share, and enclosed the space with a privacy fence. Our cluster mail is now leaning on their privacy fence. They also spray painted the driveway with "private driveway, that includes only the number of the two houses that sit on st view. And spray painted "try 5" as the speed they want us to use. Can someone please tell me what my options and solutions to this drama are.
had-it - 15-Sep-16 @ 7:45 PM
Hi, we have a very strange problem,where somebody is using my mothers recycle bins. It's a real nuisance, as she has COPD, and I have to drive down to put it out for her. The problem is that it is now getting full before collection is due, and quite often they put in plastic bags which makes a collection fail. Have you any advice on who I could contact on her behalf??? Thank You for any forthcoming advice...
jon8992 - 23-Aug-16 @ 9:13 PM
Hi I recently brought a new house and quickly realised the fence at bottom of mygarden is 2 meters short of where it should be. I have looked behind fence in hope of claiming the land back, however the neighbours at the bottom have dumped their asbestos garage roof in this area and poured engine oil all round the base of a tree to kill it off. Neither the council or environment agency want to help. Where can I go from here.
ant - 17-Aug-16 @ 10:49 PM
I have a concern as my neighbour coats her bin bags and paving slabs at the front of her un fenced property in thick bleach every single week- while I assune that this is to deter animals ripping into her rubbish bag I also wonder and an concerned that this poses a very high health risk to myself, my young children who have to walk past these bags and the local wildlife and environment? I am however unsure if she is violating any rules and would like some help on this matter? Only last year we had to call out a member of the rspca after my young son found a kitten dead just feet from the bag- we immediately called and thy came out to investigate- they confirmed it was highly lint that this poor creature had died as a result of this happening. They spoke with the lady and told her that this should not continue.....she stopped for a while but has started again. Please help!
Kco - 16-Aug-16 @ 1:11 PM
Firsttimebuyers2016 - Your Question:
Hi, we have recently purchased a property in a quiet cul de sac and now have a drive and garage (yay!). Our house is semi detached and our front door faces onto the drive which is shared with the next houses drive. Our front doors face each other. The neighbour in question is an elderly lady who has her middle aged son living with her. Unfortunately for us (and her) he has filled her drive with his cars. Two of which look like they've not been moved for years -moss around the handles, cobwebs galore etc when we moved in she actually apologised for them. I'm just wondering how to approach the situation as they are already starting to wind me up. They may aswel be rubbish piled up as they don't look nice at all. Any ideas would be great. Thanks

Our Response:
You could try discussing this with your neighbour, ask her if there is any way she (with your help) could persuade her son to get some of the vehicles removed. If that is unsuccessful, your environmental health department might be able to issue a notice asking them to clean up the area because it is a "nuisance" or because it is a potential danger or health hazard.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Aug-16 @ 11:35 AM
Hi, we have recently purchased a property in a quiet cul de sac and now have a drive and garage (yay!). Our house is semi detached and our front door faces onto the drive which is shared with the next houses drive. Our front doors face each other. The neighbour in question is an elderly lady who has her middle aged son living with her. Unfortunately for us (and her) he has filled her drive with his cars. Two of which look like they've not been moved for years -moss around the handles, cobwebs galore etcwhen we moved in she actually apologised for them. I'm just wondering how to approach the situation as they are already starting to wind me up. They may aswel be rubbish piled up as they don't look nice at all. Any ideas would be great. Thanks
Firsttimebuyers2016 - 9-Aug-16 @ 3:29 PM
Ak - Your Question:
Hi, I'm looking for some advice. We have a small shop with a service road around the back. Now for the past year someone keeps dumping resteraunt waste, oil drums and some really disgusting stuff down this road on our property. They do this every month or every other month. I've contacted the council and they said they can't do anything since it is in our property. I've paid £80 every time to get it removed, I've spent about £1000 over the past year. Do you have any advice on what I can do about this. Should I go the police?

Our Response:
Yes if someone is dumping this on your property it's effectively fly tipping and environmental health should be able to do something about it. If not, report it to the police.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Jul-16 @ 10:29 AM
Hi, I'm looking for some advice. We have a small shop with a service road around the back. Now for the past year someone keeps dumping resteraunt waste, oil drums and some really disgusting stuff down this road on our property. They do this every month or every other month. I've contacted the council and they said they can't do anything since it is in our property. I've paid £80 every time to get it removed, I've spent about £1000 over the past year. Do you have any advice on what I can do about this. Should I go the police?
Ak - 16-Jul-16 @ 1:22 AM
Sm - Your Question:
Hi, I share a drive with my neighbour. Recently she has decided to dump her rubbish (bricks and sand bags, an old radiator) at the top of our shared drive. I have tried talking to her about this matter as she is making it impossible to exit and enter the drive with a car. She has not moved her rubbish and insists half the drive is hers and so she will fill it with whatever she pleases. I know that shared drives must be clear at all times but she does not understand this as she does not own a car. What can I do?

Our Response:
Unfortunately if she is ignoring your requests, your only other option is legal action. Start with a note, saying that the shared drive is for access - if you can, include a copy of the relevant part of your deeds to give this credence and that you formally requesting that she removes all obstacles. If this is unsuccessful, seek advice from a solicitor.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jul-16 @ 12:37 PM
Hi, i share a drive with my neighbour. Recently she has decided to dump her rubbish (bricks and sand bags, an old radiator) at the top of our shared drive. I have tried talking to her about this matter as she is making it impossible to exit and enter the drive with a car. She has not moved her rubbish and insists half the drive is hers and so she will fill it with whatever she pleases. I know that shared drives must be clear at all times but she does not understand this as she does not own a car. What can i do?
Sm - 5-Jul-16 @ 7:28 PM
Hi - lady (!) next door is a social recluse but perfectly polite. Three dumped cars in drive, food regularly dumped on drive to feed foxes, house falling to bits and overgrown....ocassional visiting rat comes through. Council not too bothered. Caught her tipping a big bucket brimming with pee into the street grid. Stench galore! Assume either water bill not paid and no flushing looks in house or loos kaput. Electricity is out there. Don't know what to do.....her vile habits are not really hassling me too badly but cmon .....tipping wee into open drains is just plain nasty isn't it?! Any advice or views appreciated. Not up for a big row with the lady.
Whatsoever - 22-Jun-16 @ 10:25 PM
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