Shropshire Council

What is statutory nuisance?

A 'statutory nuisance' can be defined as a matter which is unreasonable and causes substantial interference in the use and enjoyment of a person's property.

For a matter to be actionable as a nuisance in law it must be a serious and persistent issue - one-off events rarely qualify. Specific sensitivities of those suffering cannot be taken into account in deciding whether a matter is a nuisance.

What types of problem can be a statutory nuisance?

  • Noise - from premises or from vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street
  • Premises - any premises in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance; for example if there was a rat infestation with rotting food waste present
  • Smoke - that is unreasonable and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises 
  • Light - from badly adjusted security lights or floodlights etc.
  • Fumes and gases - applies to domestic premises only, but doesn't include cooking smells
  • Smells and odour, dust, steam from industrial, trade or commercial premises 
  • Accumulations - anything which could cause a nuisance or present a health risk for humans, eg an accumulation of rotting food which attracts rats or mice
  • Animals - where animals are kept in such a place or manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance. This can include smells from animals or faeces, waste etc
  • Insects from any relevant industrial, trade or business premises and which are prejudicial to health or a nuisance

What is not classified as a statutory nuisance?

'Nuisance' is very much a property-based issue; an issue that disturbed you while walking on a public footpath, or while you were a visitor somewhere, could not be a statutory nuisance to you. Other issues that are unlikely to be classified as statutory nuisances include:

  • Aircraft noise
  • Everyday noises audible due to poor sound insulation between adjoining properties
  • Domestic odours (like cooking smells)
  • Normal road noise
  • One-off events

General advice

We always recommend that you try to resolve the problem informally first, before you involve us. You should contact your neighbour and explain politely what it is that you're being troubled by. You may find this difficult, but often people are unaware that they're causing a problem, and will be glad to do what they can to reduce it. 

For advice on specific issues, you can read our advice and guidance pages, or refer to our FAQs for more information.

If this doesn't resolve the problem you should contact us to explain what the issues are and how they're affecting you. We'll explain what course of action we can take. In some cases, if our informal interventions don't resolve the issue, an abatement notice can be served on the person causing the problem.