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Environmental Complaints

The Environmental Protection Team may be able you help you if you are badly affected by your neighbours by the issues mentioned on this page.

What we can help with

The things that we can help you with include the following from nearby commercial or residential properties:-

  • Noise - parties, barking dogs, burglar alarms, machinery, DIY, construction sites
  • Smell - piles of manure, extract units, manure spreading
  • Dust - DIY, industrial processes
  • Insects - usually flies
  • Piles of rubbish - causing smells, flies, rats etc
  • Light - from security or decorative lights
  • Smoke - from bonfires, chimneys

We cannot deal with transport (road, rail and aircraft noise) but can give you informal advice.

We cannot deal with gardens or land which is just untidy, unsightly or overgrown but in extreme cases our Planning Enforcement Team may be able to help.

Nuisances from licensed premises may also be dealt with under the licensing legislation.

We have separate procedures to deal with building site noise where we can relatively easily restrict the hours of work.

For issues relating to Anti Social Behaviour the Community Safety Officer may be able to assist.

Depending on the circumstances we may be able to deal with noise in streets, buskers, loudspeaker, machinery etc. so please contact us for advice.

For us to be able to help the problem usually has to be regular and usually due to an unreasonable action. For example it is not unreasonable to burn clean seasoned wood on a properly installed and maintained wood burner but we may be able to help if old painted timber, rubbish or MDF is being burnt as this is unreasonable.

Many neighbour problems can be sorted out between themselves. It is always worth considering if it is worth chatting with your neighbour politely and very calmly describing the problem that you are suffering and how it is affecting you and your family. You may find this difficult, but often people are just not aware that they are causing a problem and are often glad to reach a compromise. However, approach the matter carefully if you think your neighbour might react angrily to a complaint and in these cases you may wish to have a discussion with us first.

You can ask for our help either by, 0300 303 8588, visiting a Council Access Point or by visiting or writing to us at Environmental Protection Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT

What we will need from you

We will need to know: -

  • Your name and address and (where possible) a daytime phone number
  • The address (or site) where the problem is coming from and the type of problem
  • When and for how long the problem happens (it will help if you have made a written record of the times and dates when the problem has occurred)
  • How the problem is affecting you (e.g. disturbing sleep, or closing windows)
  • Anything you have tried to sort the problem (e.g. speaking to your neighbour)

Details of your name and address will not be released to anyone without your permission.

Occasionally the person about who you have complained may guess your identity or approach you to ask if you have made the complaint. Once we are involved neighbour relationships often tend to become more difficult.

In some cases when informal action has failed and we take legal action your name and address may be released and you may be asked to provide a statement and appear in Court as a witness. We would discuss this with you at each stage as your case progresses and we will take your wishes into account.

What we will do

We will discuss the problem with you and agree the next step. At this stage advice and a chat may be enough, then we will close your case but keep the computer record. But the next step usually is to send a letter to your neighbour advising them of your complaint and at the same time we will send you log sheets to fill in to show when the problem occurs and, very importantly how it affects you. This often sorts the problem out and we hear no more and close the file.

Once we receive your sheets we will review them a qualified and experience officer will decide on the next steps. Sometimes it is clear that we cannot take any more action and you will be informed of that and given information on how to take your own private action.

If it appears that there is likely to be a problem then we will investigate further usually by visiting you or, in the case of noise, leaving a recording sound level meter for you to record the noise. If the problem persists and our officers observations indicate the likelihood of a problem severe enough for formal action we will probably serve a legal notice requiring the problem to be remedied. Ultimately, and in a very few cases we may obtain a warrant to seize stereos etc. or prosecute the person responsible. You will be kept informed throughout the process and each stage explained to you at the time.

Last modified: 20 July 2017