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Your Rights Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 11 Oct 2017 | 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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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
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.
Jmw - 23-Apr-17 @ 1:01 PM
Maz - Your Question:
My next door neighbours play loud music in the garden & indoors so loud we are unable to enjoy our garden or sleep. It usually goes on until early hours of the morning. They have 2 dogs that are kept in the garden 24/7 & bark at night especially around 3am - 5am. They also light bonfires during the day that blows over into over garden which is a problem as I am an asthmatic. They live in social housing from a housing association. They are making our lives miserable. Tried to speak to them they ignore us

Our Response:
Firstly contact their landlord (the Housing Association), they may actually be in breach of the tenancy agreement and the landlord can take action. If this has no effect Contact your Environmental Health Services
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Mar-17 @ 12:31 PM
My next door neighbours play loud music in the garden & indoors so loud we are unable to enjoy our garden or sleep. It usually goes on until early hours of the morning. They have 2 dogs that are kept in the garden 24/7 & bark at night especially around 3am - 5am. They also light bonfires during the day that blows over into over garden which is a problem as I am an asthmatic. They live in social housing from a housing association. They are making our lives miserable. Tried to speak to them they ignore us
Maz - 29-Mar-17 @ 12:27 PM
GUINDI - Your Question:
We have purchased a house only two months ago and we were unaware that next door had so many animals (6 dogs, chickens ducks.and 2 goats). we did n ot see or notice anyhting when we viewed but it must have been just a coincidence. We love animals and have 2 cats ourselves, however apart from the dogs barking at 6.30am even on weekends and everytime they are left on their own, they also bark if they hear us in our own garden.the worse is the smell is coming from the goats. It is now on a daily basis and it is winter. I refuse to go to the garden and feel that my rights should be protected. In the summer is going to be awful we have already been told by the neighbour on the other side and I am asking whether the fact that that smell is categorised as a nuisance and disturbance.We cannot open the back doors. We know we are not going to be able to sit outside or do staff due to the smell. I have simply gone out this morning to put the rubbish and the strong smell , which is like ammonia, is till in my nose and that was over 2 hours ago!. This is creating a lot of stress and anxiety to me and my partner.i have even had to see the GP - The previous vendors did not disclose anything becuase I guess they wanted to seel it.I feel lost, trapped and worry about my health -

Our Response:
You should check with your local authority to make sure there are no local bylaws that prevent the keeping of chickens, goats and similar "farm" animals....even if they are kept as pets. Your environmental health officer should be able to help if there's a genuine health hazard or air pollution issue.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Feb-17 @ 12:58 PM
We have purchased a house only two months ago and we were unaware that next door had so many animals (6 dogs, chickens ducks...and 2 goats). we did n ot see or notice anyhting when we viewed but it must have been just a coincidence. We love animals and have 2 cats ourselves, however apart from the dogs barking at 6.30am even on weekends and everytime they are left on their own, they also bark if they hear us in our own garden...the worse is the smell is coming from the goats. It is now on a daily basis and it is winter. I refuse to go to the garden and feel that my rights should be protected. In the summer is going to be awful we have already been told by the neighbour on the other side and I am asking whether the fact that that smell is categorised as a nuisance and disturbance.We cannot open the back doors. We know we are not going to be able to sit outside or do staff due to the smell. I have simply gone out this morning to put the rubbish and the strong smell , which is like ammonia, is till in my nose and that was over 2 hours ago!. This is creating a lot of stress and anxiety to me and my partner...i have even had to see the GP - The previous vendors did not disclose anything becuase i guess they wanted to seel it... I feel lost, trapped and worry about my health -
GUINDI - 25-Feb-17 @ 12:17 PM
Dave - Your Question:
I have a problem regarding being harassed by my next door neighbour. She doesn't work, rarely goes out (I've barely seen her in the six years she lived there) and never seems to have visitors which leads me to believe she may have mental health issues.Her kitchen is adjacent to my bedroom and no matter what time I go to bed (I work shifts so some weeks early, some weeks late), she always goes into her kitchen and spends, sometimes hours, making as much noise as she can. Her main source of noise lately has been repeatedly stepping on a squeeky floorboard but she often accompanies that by making various banging noises ie slamming drawers/cupboards, hammering on the work-top etc. This has been going on for as long as I can remember and polite yet firm notes through her door have fallen on deaf ears (she never answers her door so speaking to her directly has not been an option). The lady who lives beneath her is also having her sleep disturbed at night. We are considering contacting the local council. Would you need to provide evidence in order to make such a complaint have any effect or is the spoken testimony of her 2 neighbours enough for action to be taken

Our Response:
You'll probably both be asked to keep diaries of the noise, for a week or two, before EHO investigates further.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Feb-17 @ 12:25 PM
I have a problem regarding being harassed by my next door neighbour. She doesn't work, rarely goes out (I've barely seen her in the six years she lived there) and never seems to have visitors which leads me to believe she may have mental health issues. Her kitchen is adjacent to my bedroom and no matter what time I go to bed (I work shifts so some weeks early, some weeks late), she always goes into her kitchen and spends, sometimes hours, making as much noise as she can. Her main source of noise lately has been repeatedly stepping on a squeeky floorboard but she often accompanies that by making various banging noises ie slamming drawers/cupboards, hammering on the work-top etc. This has been going on for as long as I can remember and polite yet firm notes through her door have fallen on deaf ears (she never answers her door so speaking to her directly has not been an option) . The lady who lives beneath her is also having her sleep disturbed at night. We are considering contacting the local council. Would you need to provide evidence in order to make such a complaint have any effect or is the spoken testimony of her 2 neighbours enough for action to be taken
Dave - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:13 PM
ShazzaUK- Your Question:
I recently moved to an adapted bungalow with my 13yr old son and 2 cats due to breaking my back.Its a bit of a retirement village but most neighbours are ok. The problem I have is my immediate neighbours feel the need to chuck cat pooh over my fence. I appreciate it's awful to have cats pooh in your garden if you don't own pets yourself but this is the 3rd time this month they have done it. Surely this isn't legal? I'm not the only one with cats so do I deserve keep having pooh chucked on my path? What can I do as I can't prove it as I can't afford cctv?

Our Response:
Perhaps you could pop round and have a polite word first of all? Maybe explain that you can't control where you cats do their business but would be happy to clear it up yourself if it's definitely your cats? Or give them some poop bags and say you'll dispose of them in your waste bin if they can collect it themselves. It's fair enough that they want to keep their garden free of cat waste especially if they have visiting grandchildren and do a lot of gardening.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Feb-17 @ 11:13 AM
I recently moved to an adapted bungalow with my 13yr old son and 2 cats due to breaking my back.Its a bit of a retirement village but most neighbours are ok. The problem I have is my immediate neighbours feel the need to chuck cat pooh over my fence. I appreciate it's awful to have cats pooh in your garden if you don't own pets yourself but this is the 3rd time this month they have done it. Surely this isn't legal? I'm not the only one with cats so do I deserve keep having pooh chucked on my path? What can I do as I can't prove it as I can't afford cctv?
ShazzaUK - 15-Feb-17 @ 11:44 AM
Sabyaz - Your Question:
For past few months I have been having trouble with my neighbours, the told me not to put washing on at night (i was sometimes doing this as I wasn't home during the day) however I have stopped doing this other than on a few rare occassions. Recently I have been able to identify the smell of cannabis coming from the air vents and they are also arguing almost everyday. The man living next door has threatened me on a previous occassion and police have got involved in this matter. Now they are bagging on my door every couple of days telling me not to use my shower at night. Can they report me for the noise from my shower? It's so suffocating, I lived here 2 years before they moved in and had not a single problem, now I just feel like I'm having to move around on tip toes.

Our Response:
It does sound as though they're being a little unreasonable. Make sure your noise is at a minimum between the hours of 11pm and 7am. The neighbours cannot realistically instigate any action against you then.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Feb-17 @ 11:53 AM
Our neighbor has had solar panels fitted and has attracted pigeons the noise is awful they land on our roof to walk across to theirs and the noise of cooing is deafening we get woken up by them every night I called the pest control and they said eventually the pigeons will attract mites as well we have made our neighbors aware and they even said they get woken up too are they legally responsible to fix this problem we even have our house up for sale because of it
Sappy - 13-Feb-17 @ 4:59 AM
For past few months I have been having trouble with my neighbours, the told me not to put washing on at night (i was sometimes doing this as I wasn't home during the day) however I have stopped doing this other than on a few rare occassions. Recently I have been able to identify the smell of cannabis coming from the air vents and they are also arguing almost everyday. The man living next door has threatened me on a previous occassion and police have got involved in this matter. Now they are bagging on my door every couple of days telling me not to use my shower at night. Can they report me for the noise from my shower? It's so suffocating, I lived here 2 years before they moved in and had not a single problem, now I just feel like i'm having to move around on tip toes.
Sabyaz - 13-Feb-17 @ 3:26 AM
Husky- Your Question:
There is a really foul smell coming from next door. I have told him about it & about the 4 dogs barking all day & the dog mess but he won't do anything about it. All council want us to do is keep diary. His house is rented we have approached the land lord & the company he uses but no one will help us.

Our Response:
How long does the council want you to keep a diary for? It's fair to ask you to do this for a week or so, but then they should investigate themselves more thoroughly.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Feb-17 @ 10:49 AM
There is a really foul smell coming from next door . I have told him about it & about the 4 dogs barking all day & the dog mess but he won't do anything about it . All council want us to do is keep diary . His house is rented we have approached the land lord & the company he uses but no one will help us .
Husky - 7-Feb-17 @ 2:38 PM
I work in catering soon as well thanks to Zoe dechannels harassing crap, all my careers were ruined. I live in Leeds near extremely polutting factories it smells like burnt manure sewage chemicals, people pay their rents to cough up all day and keep their windows closed. The council tried to help but the factories were loosing money keeping closed so they began to harass me and others to leave this area or or not complain. The police and some local ambulance where miss used for this
Mindy - 1-Feb-17 @ 10:21 AM
Zoe - Your Question:
I work in catering so I finish work late and sometimes I work 6/7 days a week. Work only supply 1 uniform so I have to wash it every night when I get home ready for the next morning. My neighbour has started to complain about the noise and has told me that I have to turn it off mid cycle. I have informed her that I work unsociable hours and that I only have 1 uniform but this did not interest her, she just told me I have to turn it off. If I do not have a clean uniform I can then not go to work due to hygiene which would eventually result in me losing my job. Is there anything I can do to resolve this problem?

Our Response:
Ask your employer to supply additional uniforms. It's unreasonable to expect you to wash and wear the same one every day.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jan-17 @ 10:25 AM
I work in catering so I finish work late and sometimes I work 6/7 days a week. Work only supply 1 uniform so I have to wash it every night when I get home ready for the next morning. My neighbour has started to complain about the noise and has told me that I have to turn it off mid cycle. I have informed her that I work unsociable hours and that I only have 1 uniform but this did not interest her, she just told me I have to turn it off. If I do not have a clean uniform I can then not go to work due to hygiene which would eventually result in me losing my job. Is there anything I can do to resolve this problem?
Zoe - 29-Jan-17 @ 12:37 AM
I live next door to a private school,all there waste bins are against my gable end and sometimes they block my windows of light, they also have yellow waste bins as well, this must be a health hazard and the clattering of bins go on untill 9 in the evening due to the cleaners,complained loads of times via email always say they will do something butthey never do
dozey - 17-Jan-17 @ 7:51 PM
For 2 years the West Yorkshire police/some private ambulance/council perhaps and the gass and factories near by our residential area harassed and tormented me to move out of the area, when I had actually left but was forced to return for unforeseen circumstances out of my hands. We have all complained over this but I did more so. The way they handled it was by covert harassing me for 20 months, everyone that came near me would cough, this happened every were not just at the doctors or a one flu problems. I want the hell out of here as the stench once back on, is a combination of burnt plastic, sewer, gass chemicals and burnt manure. With some local morons burning wood for their heating. Some tried to help but others through covert harassment with the rest that wrecked months of my life and if this is your only home, others shouldn't have messed up so much else as I had left from this area never to return. None of the factories if they participated in the harassment have been investigated for harassment. Apparently fresh air is classed as a luxury in this area, whilst every one else in the UK actually has the right for it with out being tormented over it. I got intimidated to leave and my computer was hacked into, where I've been cyberstalked and harassed as well. I couldn't understand what business the local police and some paramedics would have with the trivial things I was doing on my computer, it was to bully me to get to leave this area and the harassment through others in the area has still continued. I have lost 2 years of my life to this and have nothing left. They made it unbearable to try to have a regular life here.
laura - 10-Jan-17 @ 6:16 PM
Had enough- Your Question:
My neighbour has put 3 wheelie bins, close to my bay window link detached. Throughout the day and early evening you can hear the bin lids banging up and down. A few months ago I banged down my bin lid straight after my neighbours; I was hoping this would help make them think of the noise it creates, etc. However, it's made it even worse. The son (still living at home in his mid 30's) now thinks it's funny to bang the lids without putting any rubbish inside the bin. Have I got a right to complain- this is getting very boring and frustrating now!!!!

Our Response:
This would not be classed as an environmental/noise nuisance really. It's more of a dispute which you need to sort out with your neighbour. A friend chat would be the easiest way to resolve this.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Jan-17 @ 10:43 AM
My neighbour has put 3 wheelie bins, close to my bay window link detached.Throughout the day and early evening you can hear the bin lids banging up and down. A few months ago I banged down my bin lid straight after my neighbours; I was hoping this would help make them think of the noise it creates, etc. However, it's made it even worse. The son (still living at home in his mid 30's) now thinks it's funny to bang the lids without putting any rubbish inside the bin. Have I got a right to complain- this is getting very boring and frustrating now!!!!
Had enough - 7-Jan-17 @ 2:30 AM
I have a friend who has let her house get into a terrible state , it is very dirty and she has not done housework or washing up for months it's full of clutter , the problem is she now has rats in the house but won't call environmental health as she is ashamed of the state of the house what is the legal position of environmental health if neighbours report this
noz - 28-Dec-16 @ 12:35 PM
We live in a first floor flat our balcony is next to each other A wall is splitting the two balcony but the drain is on my side. my neighbour keeps allowing his dog to use thebalcony as a toilet, some time she washes the balcony and some time with rain water the toilet is on my balcony as thr drain is on our side. I been complaining to the council for the passed 2years they seen it told the neighbour not to do it but she carrying on the councils not doing any thing about it. Where do i go? She a lazy neighbour she don't take her dogs out for a walk. Please help me
Deejay - 15-Dec-16 @ 8:41 PM
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