What powers does the council have to stop nuisances?

If the results of this monitoring confirm the complainant's allegation you could be served with a legal abatement notice requiring you to stop the nuisance. If you fail to comply with the requirements of the abatement notice, and the nuisance is again witnessed, legal proceedings may be taken against you in a Magistrates' Court, which could lead to you being fined.

In addition, in certain circumstances, we can also do whatever may be necessary to enforce the notice and stop the nuisance, without having to go to court and claim from you the costs of any other works done to stop the nuisance. In noise cases this can involve seizing and removing any noise making equipment, including CDs; tapes etc. and apply to the magistrates' court to permanently keep these.

The council can also claim back expenses incurred in the seizure, removal and storage of noise making equipment. Our aim in many cases is not necessarily to stop something outright, but to control it so it is no longer excessive and causing a statutory nuisance, but is reduced to a level that the 'average person' would find acceptable.

Our investigation procedure is aimed at gathering evidence to substantiate the complainant's allegations, and only in exceptional circumstances would we consider taking legal action based purely upon the say-so of a complainant. If we are in any way unsure of the integrity of the evidence we will not pursue a complaint further.

If the investigating officer decides that there is not enough evidence to pursue the complaint further this does not guarantee that we wont get involved again if we receive another complaint in the future, as we are legally obliged to investigate all complaints that are made by residents. However, if the original complainant approached us we will try and ensure that their reasons for wanting to re-open the case are reasonable.

You should also be aware that there is a provision in the same nuisance law for a person to take their own action through a magistrates' court. A resident may wish to do this if they were dissatisfied with the decision that the council made in investigating their original complaint, or perhaps they may have particular reasons for not involving the council in their own action from the outset.