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Frequently Asked Questions - My Neighbour is disturbing me...

My neighbour is disturbing me with noise or smoke from a chimney/bonfire. What can I do ?

If you are having a problem with excessive noise or smoke from a neighbour then you have two main options. First, for the sake of keeping on good terms, you should consider approaching your neighbour and politely let them know they are causing a problem. The person you are complaining about is often unaware that a problem exists and it would be helpful to them if you could explain when the problem tends to happen and why it is a nuisance to you. It is important not to get cross with your neighbour even though the noise or smoke may have made you feel that way.

Secondly, If this approach fails, or if you feel unable to approach your neighbour, you can contact the Public Protection Department to make a complaint - - you can do this by completing an online complaint form, or by calling 01978 292040, or by email: environmental@wrexham.gov.uk. You will need to supply your name, address and other contact details if we are to act on your complaint. You will also need to provide the address where the nuisance is coming from. Initially our response is to write to you asking you to complete monitoring forms over a 2 - 4 week period and return these to us if the nuisance persists. At the same time we will write to the person allegedly causing a nuisance to tell them that a complaint has been made. Your details are not revealed at this stage. Most alleged nuisances are resolved at this early stage, but if the problem persists, the Public Protection Department will carry out its own monitoring and if a statutory nuisance is established, an abatement notice can be served. Failure to comply with the notice is an offence.

What if the problem happens outside your office hours ?

We can make prior arrangements with you to monitor for an alleged nuisance outside of normal office hours. We can offer to make three one-hour visits to your home at times which are most likely to coincide with the nuisance, day or night. In the case of noise nuisances, we can make use of our noise monitoring equipment which can be installed in your home and is easy to operate. It allows you to make direct recordings of the noise which can be played back to the same level. We will only do this once we have given the person alleged to be causing the nuisance an opportunity to make improvements and once you have completed and returned our monitoring forms.

I live in a Council owned property, can the Housing Association take any action ?

Regardless of the controls used by the Public Protection Department for controlling nuisances, the Housing Association has additional control over the behaviour of its tenants as detailed in their tenancy contract.

Do you have the same powers against people in private houses as Council tenants?

The powers of the Public Protection Department for dealing with nuisances apply equally to Council tenants as they do to occupiers of private housing. However, the Housing Department has additional controls relating to Council tenants and these from part of the Tenancy Contract.

Can I take my own legal action against the person causing the disturbance ?

As an individual it is possible to take legal action against a neighbour where they are causing you a statutory nuisance from things like noise and smoke. The provisions of Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allow you to do this. It is recommended that you seek legal advice before embarking on this process.

Can I involve the Police ?

The Police have few powers to intervene in cases of noise or smoke emanating from a domestic property and which are causing a nuisance to neighbours. They have been known to respond but it is not their role. The exception is where a bonfire is lit close to a highway and is creating so much smoke that it is causing the journey of motorists to be interrupted.