Toggle menu

Neighbour nuisance


If someone is doing something that is seriously interfering with your right to enjoy your home and is affecting your wellbeing they may be guilty of statutory nuisance. Statutory nuisance is defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is a criminal offence.

What types of nuisance are there?

Statutory nuisance covers:

  • Noise
  • Smoke
  • Dust, steam or smell
  • Fumes or gases
  • Light
  • Rubbish and fly-tipping
  • Problem animals
  • Certain premises

What can I do about noise or other nuisance from a neighbouring property?

Firstly, you should try talking or writing to your neighbours to explain how their behaviour is affecting you. They may not be aware how their activities are affecting you and will often stop when told. Fortunately most complaints are resolved in this way. For further information on resolving neighbour disputes, please visit the GOV.UK website.

If telling them doesn't help, you can contact us and we will look into the matter. We may visit and speak to all parties concerned to try and resolve issues and where necessary direct them to other partners or agencies that may be better placed to help.

You will need to fill in a neighbour nuisance report form. We will investigate further to see if it is a statutory nuisance. You may need to record when the noise happens on diary sheets.

Please be aware, the Council will not investigate anonymous noise complaints.  To determine if a statutory noise nuisance is present, the Council must establish if the noise is unreasonable and having a detrimental effect on someone in their home. This may require the complainant to keep noise diaries, the installation of a noise recording device and/or having an officer witness the noise from inside the property. If the evidence demonstrates that a statutory noise nuisance is present, an enforcement notice will be served on the perpetrator.  If this notice is breached, and the case is escalated to formal action, all records/ recordings will be used as evidence in Court. Please be aware, should a case reach Court, the Council would need to disclose complainants details as part of the evidence and the alleged perpetrator would be entitled to know this information so they can duly defend themselves.

Therefore, if the Council is not provided with the complainants details, the investigation cannot be pursued.

If a statutory nuisance is found to exist, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives us powers to address the issue. Sometimes this may mean that we may have to go to court or carry out certain works to ensure that the nuisance is removed.


What can I do about smells coming from a neighbouring property?

Smells from domestic properties by themselves cannot be a statutory nuisance but will inevitably be associated with a specific problem that may be a statutory nuisance such as an accumulation, or problem animals.

Smells coming from a commercial property can count as statutory nuisance. You should contact us and we will investigate whether your case counts as statutory nuisance.

What counts as light pollution or light nuisance?

Light nuisance happens when artificial light from premises has a negative impact on neighbours.

If you think you are suffering from light nuisance you should talk to your neighbour and explain the problem. If this does not work and you think that it could be said to be a statutory nuisance you should tell us about it.

We will let your neighbour know that their lighting is causing a problem and advise them how to adjust it to prevent it affecting you in the future.

What are the laws around bonfires?

Domestic Burning

There are no smoke control orders or laws banning people from burning garden waste on their own land in the borough of Great Yarmouth, providing the materials being burnt are not associated with a business activity. 

However, instead of a bonfire, there are more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of waste:

Household rubbish, and any products containing plastic, rubber, foam or paint, should not be burnt.  For more Guidance on Bonfires, please see the links below:

If your neighbour has regular bonfires and you are being significantly affected by the smoke, you can contact us.

Commercial Burning

Any waste produced through commercial activities is considered to be business waste and must be handled safely and within the law.  Businesses are not permitted to burn any waste unless they have a valid exemption certificate or permit from the Environment Agency.

The only waste businesses can burn in the open (i.e on a bonfire) is waste plant tissue or untreated wood at the place where it is produced.  This requires a D7 waste exemption from the Environment Agency - businesses must comply with the exemption conditions and ensure they do not cause a statutory nuisance.

The burning of waste on a bonfire or in an appliance on trade premises which produces smoke, is a separate offence under the Clean Air Act 1993.

Please be aware that a person or company that burns waste without holding a relevant exemption certificate or permit, may be prosecuted. A person convicted of a duty of care offence is liable to an unlimited fine.

For more information on the disposal of commercial waste,please follow the link below:

Wood burners and open fires

The use of wood burners and open fires has increased in recent years. To help reduce the environmental and health impacts of these heating systems, the following guidance has been produced by the government:

Please note, there are currently no smoke control zones in the borough of Great Yarmouth

Indications of very poor burning habits which can cause pollution include; blackened glass on wood burners, grey smoke constantly coming out of your chimney, or lots of unburned wood or charcoal left after the stove goes out.

Advice on the procedures to follow when lighting stoves to minimise smoke emissions has been produced by industry experts Burnright.

Are there laws on using fireworks?

How do I make a complaint about my neighbour who is a council tenant?

If you are suffering nuisance from a council tenant, please contact your Estate Manager who will investigate the problem for you.

If you are not a council tenant, you can contact the Housing Team on:

  • 01493 846825 for the Yarmouth and Cobholm areas
  • 01493 846837 for the Gorleston and Southtown areas

How do I make a complaint about my neighbour who is a housing association tenant?

If you are suffering nuisance from a housing association tenant, please contact your Estate Manager/Neighbourhood Officer. They will investigate the problem for you. 

If you are not a housing association tenant, you should find out who the relevant housing association is and contact them:

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email