It is advisable to first try and resolve the matter by speaking to your neighbour. If you feel safe doing so, discuss the problem with the person responsible and let them know about your concerns. They may not realise that they are bothering you, or may be unaware the problem exists.
If you do not feel safe or able to speak to your neighbour, or if the problem persists even after you have spoken to him/her, you can request that the County Council investigates the matter. The Council will usually write to the person responsible for the alleged nuisance, informing them that a complaint has been received, that the matter was being investigated and ask them to ensure that they don’t cause a nuisance to nearby occupants. The complainant’s details are confidential and are never given out.
Complainants will normally be required to complete log sheets detailing the dates, times and durations of the problems experienced so that officers have an idea of the extent of the matter. If the problem does not improve to the complainant’s satisfaction an officer will attempt to capture evidence of the alleged problem in order to make a judgement on whether or not a statutory nuisance exists. Factors which may be considered in making the judgement include the duration of the activity complained about, how frequently it occurs, the time(s) of day it occurs, the impact on neighbours, the nature of the locality, and the reasonableness of the activity.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives the Council the power to serve an Abatement Notice on the person(s) responsible when they are satisfied of the existence of a statutory nuisance. Abatement Notices impose a requirement on the person(s) responsible to stop the occurrence/recurrence of the nuisance, and generally remain enforceable until the subjects under notice leave or sell their property.