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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.

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?

There are no laws banning people from burning garden waste on their own land at any time. However, instead of a bonfire, you could:

For more information, please see the Council's Guidance on Bonfires (PDF) [120KB] (opens new window) .

If a neighbour has regular bonfires and you think they could qualify as a statutory nuisance, you should contact us and tell us about them.

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:

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