Environmental Public Health

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Environmental Public Health

Nuisance

Local authorities in the United Kingdom have been given statutory power to deal with environmental nuisances since 1846. The current law is now contained in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which applies to the whole of the United Kingdom.The courts recognise the general principle that individuals have a general right to enjoy their property without interference from activities, which take place outside that property. The plaintiff can enlist the law of nuisance if such a right is prejudiced. The factors, which the court takes into account when considering if a given state of affairs constitutes a nuisance, can be various and HPS provides support to local authorities and NHS Boards when instances are being investigated.

The courts have adopted an uncompromising stance to authors of nuisances by refusing to say that a person suffering from a nuisance should do everything reasonably possible to mitigate the suffering. This approach is implicit in the numerous decisions concerning noise nuisance where it has never been accepted, for example, that the plaintiff should go to the expense of having premises double or triple-glazed in order to reduce the effect of noise.