Penalties for polluting

Part 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires us to take reasonable steps to investigate and, if appropriate, to take formal action in the event of justified complaints of statutory nuisance.

A statutory nuisance in this context can include emissions of smoke, fumes or gases, dust, steam and smell. The emissions must arise from premises and must materially affect the use or enjoyment of other premises. The legislation doesn't allow us to deal with complaints of smells arising from domestic premises.

Typical complaints of this type are:

  • smoke and ash from garden bonfires
  • smoking chimneys
  • dust from building and demolition activity
  • cooking smells from restaurants

If we're satisfied that a complaint of statutory nuisance is justified, an abatement/penalty notice will be served upon the person responsible (occupier or owner of the premises, as appropriate), requiring that the nuisance be abated.

Failure to comply with an abatement/penalty notice is an offence and legal proceedings may result. If found guilty of an offence of this type, the maximum fine is £5000 on domestic premises and £20,000 on commercial premises.

Page last updated: 18 September 2017

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