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Environmental Protection Act

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the operation of section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; what recent representations he has received about the operation of this (a) section and (b) Act; and what amendments have been made to the Act. (72463)

Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows a person with a complaint of statutory nuisance, for example, noise, smell or smoke, to take private action through the magistrates court. If the court agrees that a statutory nuisance exists and/or is likely to recur, it will issue an abatement notice on the person responsible for the nuisance, requiring that the nuisance be ceased or abated within a specified timescale. It may, but does not have to, specify the steps to be taken. Anyone causing a statutory nuisance could also be liable to a fine.

The statutory nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 have been amended by measures implemented on 6 April 2006 in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, which introduce insects, and artificial light, to the list of potential statutory nuisances. The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 also introduces an optional seven-day deferral for serving of an abatement notice for statutory nuisance from noise in order to pursue alternative steps before formal action is taken.

The Government work as a matter of course with stakeholders and, on statutory nuisance from noise in particular, we will be seeking stakeholder views on the Noise Strategy, which will be the subject of full public consultation early in 2007.

A large number of amendments have been made to the 1990 Environmental Protection Act and the cost of collating a list would be disproportionate. As there is no central record of representations received by the Department that would enable officials to identify those about the operation of the whole Act, it would also incur disproportionate cost to do so.