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Abatement notices – Nuisances, penalties, and your rights

Councils have a duty to investigate and deal with complaints made to them about issues believed to be a statutory nuisance. When a complaint is upheld and found to have caused or be a statutory nuisance, a council will serve an abatement notice on those responsible or the owner/occupier of the premises in certain circumstances.

An abatement notice will require those responsible (within the stated time period as set out on the notice) to abate the nuisance and likely take steps to prohibit or restrict the nuisance from reoccurring.

Penalties for offenders

If an abatement notice is contravened or ignored, an offence under Section 80(4) of the Environment Protection Act 1990 is committed resulting in summary conviction and a fine.

The penalties are severe. For individuals, the maximum fine is £5,000, while for businesses/organisations, the fine can be up to £20,000.   If the offence were to continue after conviction, further daily fines can be imposed.

In addition, where works are specified in an abatement notice but not carried out, a council may execute the works and recover the costs for doing so from those responsible.

If you are served with an abatement notice, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible to help:

Understand the notice – to ensure you know what the alleged statutory nuisance is and what is required of you.

Comply with the notice – If the notice is justified, the action to be taken by you to ensure compliance within the timescales set out.

Appeal against the notice – If the notice is unjust, to appeal the notice within 21 days of it being served.  Grounds for appealing an abatement notice are set out within The Statutory Nuisance (Appeals) Regulations 1990.

If you have been served with an abatement notice and require legal assistance, please contact Mander Hadley’s team of experts today.

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