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General pollution information

What is pollution?

It is difficult to precisely define what pollution is, what one person regards as normal behaviour may be causing great distress to others. What one person thinks of as music may be pollution to another's ears. A neighbour enjoying a regular barbecue or bonfire may in fact be guilty of producing a smoke nuisance for the other nearby residents.

What do we regard as pollution?

We will investigate reports of nuisances which are having a detrimental effect on the quality of peoples lives. In the first instance you will almost always have to keep a log to record when the nuisance is occurring and the nature of the problem.

How do I Complain About a Nuisance?

1. Tackle the Source

First, approach whoever is responsible for the nuisance. They will often not realise they are disturbing you. The majority of complaints are resolved informally, and you may well get a quicker result than if you wait for an official to arrive. In cases where you might feel threatened, or where previous personal approaches have not worked, go to your local authority.

2. Complain to your Local Authority

Contact the environmental health department of your local authority. They must investigate your complaint. If they agree that there is a nuisance they will contact the offender - informally at first, but with an abatement notice if necessary. If the offender fails to comply with the notice proceedings can be taken in the Magistrates Court.

Our process:

In most instances the complainant will also be required to maintain log sheets for 14 days.

The purpose of the log is to build up a picture, which will help in establishing whether a nuisance exists. It will also help in the effective targeting of resources. Log sheets can also be used in evidence in legal proceedings.

The person causing the alleged nuisance will be contacted at an early stage and informed that their activities could be causing a nuisance.

If in the opinion of the Environmental Health Officer, there is a statutory nuisance, the person responsible for the nuisance may be served with an abatement notice.

In general anonymous complaints will not be investigated.

Where complainants have stated that they will not give evidence in Court and should legal proceedings be necessary, we will not take formal action.

Mediation Services

Before becoming involved, we will expect you to have approached your neighbour either personally or in writing. If you feel this would be better done through the offices of a third party, we would suggest that you contact The Mediation Centre (UK) Ltd.

Contact details:
Telephone: 020 7511 0111

Alternatively, write to:

The Mediation Centre (UK) Ltd.
Fortis House
160 London Road
IG11 8BB

The office is open from 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday.

If you feel that matter has gone beyond this approach, contact the Environmental Health Department. Further information will be supplied to help you understand your legal rights. We will also supply you with a noise log form. We will need you to keep a record of the occurrences of noise nuisance over a 4-week period. Once you have completed this and returned it to our department, we will undertake to assess the extent of the problem and give you a decision on our next step within one week. In all of the above proceedings your name and address will not be disclosed.