Nuisance neighbours - noise, smoke, odour etc

The Environmental Protection team at West Lindsey District Council is responsible for investigating all complaints of statutory nuisance under the legislation of The Environmental Protection Act 1990. The team can recommend and enforce standards, provide advice and guidance on a wide range of statutory nuisance issues within the district. Statutory nuisance can be investigated if being caused by a domestic or commercial premises with the following exceptions.

As part of everyday living we all have to expect some problems from the people living around us. The things neighbours do can be irritating and annoying but the council can only take action where the activity is found to cause a statutory nuisance.  This is where the nuisance is so intrusive because of its intensity, regularity and duration, that it unreasonably affects a persons use and enjoyment of their own property.  We can only act where the problem is either prejudicial to health or a nuisance. Please refer to the leaflet ‘Nuisance Neighbours’ for further information.

A statutory nuisance can arise from:

Note: The transportation and disposing/burning of Commercial Waste is dealt with by the Environment Agency.

Agricultural Noise and Odour

As a largely rural district, some noise and/or odour from Farming/Agriculture is to be expected, however, there are codes of practice set down for farmers to follow to minimise nuisance from their actions i.e. when spreading manure or use of bird scarers.

How do I complain about nuisance neighbours?

Please contact the Environmental Protection team by using the Neighbourhood and Environmental Reports online form and the team will respond to your enquiry or complaint within 4 working days. To proceed with an investigation into your complaint, the following information will be required:

  • Your name, address and phone number/email address
  • The details of the complaint
  • The address of the neighbouring property causing the alleged nuisance

Note: The EPA 1990 legislation does not allow anonymous complaints to be investigated as statutory nuisance.

To aid the investigation, please supply any photographs/videos/sound recordings of the nuisance you are experiencing (date/time stamped if possible).

Your complaint will be logged and you will be sent a covering letter and a monitoring form to log the dates/times/duration of incidents to provide evidence of a possible statutory nuisance. This initial information is important as it forms the foundation of the investigation, justifying the investigation and allowing it to move the next level where the alleged perpetrator is contacted.

Complaints Made Outside Office Hours

Any enquiries/complaints made outside office hours will be responded to by the team within 4 working days.  If you are experiencing an extreme situation, please contact the emergency services by dialling 999.

Can I take my own action for nuisance without involving the council?

Yes, there are other ways to resolve statutory nuisance problems. 

You could try talking to them, or send a friendly letter; setting out what in particular is causing the problem or the time that it occurs or the length of time it goes on for. Most people can be reasonable, and very often a compromise can be reached that keeps everyone happy.

If this doesn’t work you could try a mediation service. You could also instruct a solicitor to write to your neighbour on your behalf.

Under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, you can take your own action and go directly to the Magistrates’ Court (you may want to first consult a solicitor or your local Citizen Advice Bureau). You will still, however, need to provide the evidence of statutory nuisance for the Court to rule in your favour and issue an abatement notice. The nearest Magistrates’ Court is in Lincoln.

Environmental Protection

West Lindsey District Council
Guildhall, Marshall's Yard
DN21 2NA