Taking your own private action

Section 82 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990

Some types of noise occur occasionally or at night. If it is not possible for an Officer of the Council to witness it they may not feel able to take action on behalf of an individual who has made a complaint. Should this occur you can take independent action by complaining directly to the Magistrates’ Court under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This is quite simple and need not cost much; you do not need to employ a solicitor, but is advisable to obtain some legal advice.

Before approaching the court it is a good idea to write to the noise-maker saying that unless the noise is abated by a certain date (e.g. two weeks) you will complain to the Magistrates’ Court. Keep a copy of all correspondence. If the noise-maker ignores either a verbal or written request by you to abate the noise, contact the Justices’ Clerk’s Office at your local Magistrates’ Court explaining that you wish to make a complaint under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Clerk of the Court should be able to advise you further. You must give at least three day’s notice of your intention to complain to the Magistrates’ Court to the person considered responsible for the noise. The notice should provide details of the complaint and may be delivered by hand or by post. A solicitor can do this for you (a solicitors’ letter will show you are serious). You need to prove to the magistrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that the noise you are complaining about amounts to a nuisance. The diary you keep will be important evidence and will help support your claim in court.