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Your Rights Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 25 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Environmental Protection Act Rights

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 encompasses a wide range of issues aimed at both businesses and individuals but is ultimately concerned with maintaining the quality of both your immediate and surrounding environment. On an individual basis, this can include a whole host of things, and the areas outlined below are just some of the issues that may directly affect you in a residential area.

Smoke Nuisance

The Act protects those who wish to prevent the pollution of air quality within their neighbourhood. This might be as a result of a nearby factory which might be belching thick smoke out of a chimney to a Neighbour Who Wishes To Build A Bonfire to burn some garden waste. That’s not to say that neither a business nor an individual is not permitted to produce smoke but it has to be managed in a way that does not contravene the Act.

Noise Nuisance

In addition to The Noise Act 1996, covered in more depth in another article contained within this website, noise nuisance is also incorporated into the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is aimed at preventing the quality of your environment being reduced through excessive noise, including loud music, Persistent Barking From Dogs, DIY projects, anti-social behaviour, nearby businesses etc. In fact, it would encompass anything where the noise is loud and intrusive, whether that’s persistent or intermittent, and which affects the quality and comfort of your everyday life.

Odour and Insect Nuisance

Odour and insect nuisance can pose potential health risks and is often the result of either bad waste management and/or a casual approach to dealing with household waste. It could also be due to incorrect installation of extractor fans from local food producing businesses, for example, and you are protected from having to put up with this under the Act, too.

Dog Nuisance

In addition to persistent barking, the Environmental Protection Act also incorporates other issues that can damage and/or seriously harm the quality of your immediate environment. This can include dog fouling in inappropriate places and not cleaning the mess up to Dangerous Dogs which are not permitted under UK law to dogs who are causing a nuisance or which have got out of control and thus could pose a danger to other members of the community.

Light Nuisance

This can be caused by security lighting which does not meet the recommended standards whereby it can directly affect another person’s property. It may also be a company within a residential area that has a light on throughout the night for security purposes which is causing a nuisance to neighbours.

Other issues which neighbours can often complain about which would be covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 can include things like litter dropping, abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping and graffiti.

It is an important Act to comply with as if you contravene it, your actions will have a direct effect on your neighbourhood. Dirty streets, noisy houses, unruly dogs all contribute to the bad perception of a particular neighbourhood and can be the catalyst for the emergence of anti-social behaviour, which can lead to crime.

Most of the time, many of the issues discussed here can be simply resolved by individuals (and local businesses, where appropriate) communicating with each other to come up with solutions and, perhaps, compromises in certain instances. However, the Act does protect your rights by law and if no resolutions can be reached, your first port of call will usually be your local authority’s Environmental Health Department who will take action to resolve the problem. In some cases, they might be able to achieve this by themselves, although in serious cases, they may also have to resort to getting the police involved.

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Ianparky - Your Question:
Hi I have a problem with next door neighbour he keeps a pigeon shed and also numerous dogs in his back garden.the smell coming over the fence is horrible and also lots of barking late at night and pen gates getting slammed and don't get me started on all the flies we can't even sit outside for a bbq without the awful smell and being plagued with flies also the house gets full of them as soon as we open the back door into the garden.is there anything can be done about it?

Our Response:
As the article says: Most of the time, many of the issues discussed here can be simply resolved by individuals (and local businesses, where appropriate) communicating with each other to come up with solutions and, perhaps, compromises in certain instances. However, the Act does protect your rights by law and if no resolutions can be reached, your first port of call will usually be your local authority’s Environmental Health Department who will investigate and if needed, take action to resolve the problem.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jun-18 @ 12:46 PM
Hi I have a problem with next door neighbour he keeps a pigeon shed and also numerous dogs in his back garden.the smell coming over the fence is horrible and also lots of barking late at night and pen gates getting slammed and don't get me started on all the flies we can't even sit outside for a bbq without the awful smell and being plagued with flies also the house gets full of them as soon as we open the back door into the garden.is there anything can be done about it?
Ianparky - 25-Jun-18 @ 2:43 PM
Bettany - Your Question:
Hi I have a problem with my neighbour. They burn all waste from their garden after garden renovation. They doing this from early morning to evening regularly from 2 weeks. I can smell a smoke in my all rooms even without open window. I have little baby and I see she has started to sneeze and rub her red eyes because of that. I cant open window to have fresh air. We have ichy feeling at our troats. What we can do with this problem. How we can resolve it? Should I report them? If yes-where? Is there any specyfic day or hours when they can do it? HELP!!!

Our Response:
There are no specific rules about bonfires, but if your neighbour is burning rubbish frequently you should report it to your local environmental health department.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jun-18 @ 12:58 PM
Hi I have a problem with my neighbour. They burn all waste from their garden after garden renovation. They doing this from early morning to evening regularly from 2 weeks. I can smell a smoke in my all rooms even without open window. I have little baby and I see she has started to sneeze and rub her red eyes because of that. I cant open window to have fresh air. We have ichy feeling at our troats. What we can do with this problem. How we can resolve it?Should I report them? If yes-where? Is there any specyfic day or hours when they can do it? HELP!!!
Bettany - 22-Jun-18 @ 3:33 PM
Fed up - Your Question:
One side of the garden fence has come down due to heavy wind in winter (left) I understand this is the neighbors to our lefts fence to fix. Now, this has still not been sorted and I don’t think it ever will by them. I have 3 children who I cannot leave unsupervised in MY back garden due to the state of there’s. weeds past your knees, old cooker, old washer loads of rubbish just all over. Please what can I do?

Our Response:
Depending on the terms of your deeds it (a) may not be your neighbour's fence and (b) there may not be an obligation to have a fence there at al. You will need to check this by looking at your deeds or if you rent, ask your landlord. If your neighbour owns the fence (and the deeds to not specify any repsonsibility for maintaining one) note that there is no general obligation in law that requires a person to fence in their boundaries. If that is the case, you can always erect your own fence on your side of the boundary.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-May-18 @ 2:10 PM
One side of the garden fence has come down due to heavy wind in winter (left) I understand this is the neighbors to our lefts fence to fix. Now, this has still not been sorted and I don’t think it ever will by them. I have 3 children who I cannot leave unsupervised in MY back garden due to the state of there’s. weeds past your knees, old cooker, old washer loads of rubbish just all over. Please what can I do?
Fed up - 21-May-18 @ 8:00 PM
Julie - Your Question:
Neighbour has racing pidgeons at the bottom of our garden. What are our rights has we are selling our house and it might put off potential buyers??

Our Response:
Talk to you local planning department, they willbe able to tell you whether there are any restrictions in your area relating to pigeon keeping.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-May-18 @ 3:10 PM
Our next door neighbour has a dovecote and the doves spend an inordinate am pint of time in our garden, or on our roof, particularly our TVs aerial which is now giving us a problem with the signal. We also see rats coming in from his garden. They come along the adjoining fence and then go back into his garden. We are sick of the mess and now the problem with the aerial. Is there anything we can do legally to stop these doves/ pigeon cross - they have obviously mated with the local wood pigeons. Thank youB
Ben - 7-May-18 @ 7:33 PM
Neighbour has racing pidgeons at the bottom of our garden. What are our rights has we are selling our house and it might put off potential buyers??
Julie - 6-May-18 @ 4:16 PM
My neighbor has now built a bonfire not 20 feet from the trailer next door. The pit itself is poorly structured but about 5 feet in diameter. They are burning trash and junk furniture. On ignition the flames reach anywhere from 10 to 15 feet. The last time a nearby couch caught fire between the pit and the trailer. The fire department only made them extinguish on both occasions. My trailer is only 6 feet from this other trailer. What is my recourse? I feel this is an extremely dangerous situation.
Skeeter - 3-May-18 @ 6:03 PM
Margie - Your Question:
I have just moved into a semi and my neighbour, who has lost ger garden centre business, has moved all the equipment into her front garden. This includes a skip, huge pile of blocks, pots, hoses, etc. She won’t respond to talking to. Is there anything I can do. Environmental department says she can do what she want. Her house is leasehold.Many thanks for any advice as we are so disappointed.

Our Response:
Have you asked the planning department? Sometimes they can take action relating to aesthetic issues. The only other option might be a private legal action for nuisance.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-May-18 @ 3:08 PM
I have just moved into a semi and my neighbour, who has lost ger garden centre business, has moved all the equipment into her front garden. This includes a skip, huge pile of blocks, pots, hoses, etc. She won’t respond to talking to. Is there anything I can do. Environmental department says she can do what she want. Her house is leasehold. Many thanks for any advice as we are so disappointed.
Margie - 30-Apr-18 @ 9:45 PM
Hi My mother lives in a semi detached house with a garage, many years ago the neighbors build a garage so close to my mother’s garage so there’s no access to do repairs . What can we do to resolve it ? Thank you
Alyhyena - 20-Apr-18 @ 4:15 PM
Pensioner - Your Question:
At the bottom of my garden I have a large sheltered housing block. They have a very intrusive square halogen light that is on all night and shines into my bedroom and through the windows in my conservatory during the evening and night.I have tried many times to resolve the problem but they insist they are bound by law to protect the safety of their residents from falling etc.if they go outside and also to protect the cars in their car park.What can I do?

Our Response:
Talk to your local council (environmental health) and tell them it's causing you a nuisance. They may be able to suggest/force (they do have powers to act in this regard) re-positioning of the light so that it doesn't disturb you, but still protects the residents.
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Mar-18 @ 11:59 AM
At the bottom of my garden I have a large sheltered housing block. They have a very intrusive square halogen light that is on all night and shines into my bedroom and through the windows in my conservatory during the evening and night. I have tried many times to resolve the problem but they insist they are bound by law to protect the safety of their residents from falling etc.if they go outside and also to protect the cars in their car park. What can I do?
Pensioner - 26-Mar-18 @ 2:14 PM
Hi, at back of my house neighbour has security light which is on all night and shines in bedroom windows at night and is disturbing our families sleep. What do i do ?? without confronting the neighbour.
Barry - 15-Mar-18 @ 8:02 PM
Jules - Your Question:
My neighbour has acquired 4 guesse which make a right row morning noon and night! We live in a built up area with residential properties on all sides - can I do anything about this? She is totally irrational and rude so talking to her is doing no good

Our Response:
Contact your council planning officer to see if there are any regulations or restrictions relating to keeping poultry. You could also try contacting environmental health.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Feb-18 @ 3:41 PM
My neighbour has acquired 4 guesse which make a right row morning noon and night! We live in a built up area with residential properties on all sides - can I do anything about this? She is totally irrational and rude so talking to her is doing no good
Jules - 26-Feb-18 @ 3:51 PM
Hi my neighbours dog constantly barks whenever I use my kitchen! For example if I go to use my kettle it barks constantly for at least an hour to the point where it's waking my daughter up who sleeps on that side of the house. I've spoken to the neighbour but she just said well it's a dog I can't stop it barking. We have thin walls and she never even reprimands it. It's getting to the point where I avoid using my kitchen in the evening as the constant barking really gets to you.This might sound like nothing to a lot of people but when it's waking my daughter up its getting beyond a joke. Any advice?
Elaine35 - 20-Jan-18 @ 11:10 PM
Johnno - Your Question:
Hello ty for your reply. it's not coming from my floorboards. I have lived here since 2010 its only since she moved in around 2 3 yrs ago I have had this smell problem, the smell is coming from her home drifting into mine. I can't talk to her she just blanks you. council do nothing. I can even smell it in my loft and also in the main lobby as you enter the building. if you open her letterbox you can smell it there too. I know it's coming from her home. I just need to know what else I can do. thanks

Our Response:
If environmental health are unable to help, your last resort is mediation/alternative dispute resolution or a civil action via the courts.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Dec-17 @ 3:49 PM
hello ty for your reply. it's not coming from my floorboards. I have lived here since 2010 its only since she moved in around 2 3 yrs ago I have had this smell problem,the smell is coming from her home drifting into mine. I can't talk to her she just blanks you. council do nothing. I can even smell it in my loft and also in the main lobby as you enter the building. if you open her letterbox you can smell it there too. I know it's coming from her home. I just need to know what else I can do. thanks
Johnno - 30-Nov-17 @ 5:57 PM
johnno - Your Question:
Hello for the past 2yrs I have had this bad odour smell coming from the person who lives under me. I could smell it coming through the cavities and any cracks that's exposed to the building, we have wooden floors here which any strong odours can travel easy. I've lived here since 2010 it's only since this new person moved in this has been happening I can smell the same smell in the lobby as I enter the main door and also coming out of their letterbox and all around their front door, so I know where the smell is coming from. the strange thing is it’s as if it can be switched off and on. I'm lucky if I go 2 days with no smell and it's back again. it's driving me nuts. makes me feel sick, and I get a real bad itchy nose. I feel intimidated, I've had the council here and they done nothing. tell me they cant smell nothing and just blame me. the problem is the smell is worse in the evening times and the early hrs. of the morning. by the time they do come out in the day it's not always smelly, which then makes it seem that I'm making it all up. I just don't know what else I can do. I have sealed everywhere even painted the floor hoping to at least stop the smell coming in but nothing seems to help, it still gets in. Visitors have smelt it too so I know it's not me going nuts.if I switch the heating on its worse it's as if the odour smell reacts to heat so I have to have my heating switched off in the bedroom otherwise I can't sleep. any help would be grateful thank you.

Our Response:
Have you checked under your own floorboards to make sure it's not something there? Once you've done that , ask your neighbour if they can smell something strange at certain times of day...perhaps between you, you can pinpoint the cause and address it (if it is your neighbour, they may be embarrassed enough by this to simply act on it anyway if they know it's them).
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Nov-17 @ 10:22 AM
hello for the past 2yrs I have had this bad odour smell coming from the person who lives under me. I could smell it coming through the cavities and any cracks that's exposed to the building, we have wooden floors here which any strong odours can travel easy. I've lived here since 2010 it's only since this new person moved in this has been happening I can smell the same smell in the lobby as i enter the main door and also coming out of their letterbox and all around their front door, so I know where the smell is coming from. the strange thing is it’s as if it can be switched off and on. I'm lucky if I go 2 days with no smell and it's back again. it's driving me nuts. makes me feel sick, and I get a real bad itchy nose. i feel intimidated, I've had the council here and they done nothing. tell me they cant smell nothing and just blame me. the problem is the smell is worse in the evening times and the early hrs. of the morning. by the time they do come out in the day it's not always smelly, which then makes it seem that I'm making it all up. I just don't know what else I can do. I have sealed everywhere even painted the floor hoping to at least stop the smell coming in but nothing seems to help, it still gets in. Visitors have smelt it too so i know it's not me going nuts. if I switch the heating on its worse it's as if the odour smell reacts to heat so I have to have my heating switched off in the bedroom otherwise I can't sleep. any help would be grateful thank you.
johnno - 19-Nov-17 @ 4:57 AM
My neighbour have over 30 scrap vehicles on their own land. Some of which we can see from our home. We live in a beautiful rural area and are concerned this devalues our property, we have no other neighbours so no one else will complain, I can find any advice on the internet - do you know if we have any rights please
Jools - 11-Oct-17 @ 12:27 PM
Mary - Your Question:
My neighbour has lots of doves and pigeons that are constantly on my roof and soiling my windowsills. I am worried they will damage my roof tiles and annoyed that when I mentioned this to her she says she has seen other wild birds on my roof too and she cannot control where her birds go. Is there anything I do?

Our Response:
Sometimes permission is required for pigeon keeping. If you are offended by the noise/smell, your local environmental health department may be able to help.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Sep-17 @ 2:10 PM
My neighbour has lots of doves and pigeons that are constantly on my roof and soiling my windowsills. I am worried they will damage my roof tiles and annoyed that when I mentioned this to her she says she has seen other wild birds on my roof too and she cannot control where her birds go. Is there anything I do?
Mary - 9-Sep-17 @ 4:02 PM
Lindy - Your Question:
We live in a built up area. Our neighbour has 4 giant pigs in their back garden which is approximately 15 x 10 metres. The smell is awful daily, they are noisy, there are flies daily and now we have rats coming into our garden from the pig sty. We have contacted environmental health who are about to stick an enforcement for the pigs to be removed within 28 days but we are quite certain the neighbour will ignore this as they have ignored our pleas and correspondence from the environmental health to remove them for over 6 months now. There is a covenant on the neighbours title deeds stating no livestock on the land. If the enforcement does not work, what will happen next. Can a court order make the neighbour remove the pigs?

Our Response:
Yes if the council's action is not successful (there's no reason why it wouldn't be as the follow up to enforcement notice is court action), you can take private legal action. Your legal case would probably be successful based on the covenant in place.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jul-17 @ 10:19 AM
We live in a built up area.Our neighbour has 4 giant pigs in their back garden which is approximately 15 x 10 metres.The smell is awful daily, they are noisy, there are flies daily and now we have rats coming into our garden from the pig sty.We have contacted environmental health who are about to stick an enforcement for the pigs to be removed within 28 days but we are quite certain the neighbour will ignore this as they have ignored our pleas and correspondence from the environmental health to remove them for over 6 months now.There is a covenant on the neighbours title deeds stating no livestock on the land.If the enforcement does not work, what will happen next.Can a court order make the neighbour remove the pigs?
Lindy - 19-Jul-17 @ 4:54 PM
Hi. We live on a short row of 6 houses with a bored, retired miserable neighbour in the middle. The houses have a shared, lawned back street. It is not an adopted, unadopted or public highway. The back lawned area is shared private space. Our all houses leave their bins on this area. Our neighbour has worn the council down to the point that we've now all received warning stickers that bins should be kept within the boundary of our private property. The back street IS our private property!! Any advice greatly received. Thanks.
Karl - 30-Apr-17 @ 12:19 PM
Jmw - Your Question:
Hi I need a little help. I moved into my new house above a shop but the shop has an industrial fan installed in beween my livingroom and kicthen window when I fan come of it makes my whole house shake even the windows vibraite and the noise that is coming off the fan is really bad that I have to put my tv up to 45 to try drown out the fan. I have went down all the right channels and the shop owner had to change the fan to a smaller fan which he has done but nothing has changed all the same things are still happening?? I need some help on where to go from here thanks.

Our Response:
If you have already complained to environmental health about this and nothing further can be done, your only resort is to try legal action we think.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Apr-17 @ 2:09 PM
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