Nuisance and Antisocial Behaviour

Councils have legal powers to investigate issues that could be considered a nuisance or antisocial behaviour.  

What is nuisance or antisocial behaviour?

Nuisance refers to a number of problems which certain legislation (The Environmental Protection Act 1990) considers shall be dealt with as "Statutory Nuisances" and include the following:

  • noise from premises or from vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street
  • smoke from premises (including bonfires)
  • smells from industry, trade or business premises (for example, sewage treatment works, factories or restaurants)
  • artificial light from premises
  • insect infestations from industrial, trade or business premises
  • accumulation or deposits on premises (for example, piles of rotting rubbish)

For the issue to count as a statutory nuisance it must either be harmful to health or unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of another premises.

Antisocial Behaviour refers to a wide variety of persistent and unreasonable matters which may have a negative effect on a community or locality. The main legislation is the Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Where a problem or activity is unreasonable, persistent and having a detrimental effect on a locality, it may be considered "Antisocial Behaviour" which could be controlled using this legislation.

Making a complaint

A complaint can be made via telephone, in writing, email or via the weblink below.  We will need your contact details, the full description of the allegation and details of who or what is causing the concern. Initially, your details will be kept confidential. However, if we need to pursue legal action then you or your property may be identified and you may be needed to give evidence, in person, to a court.

  • The subject of the complaint will be contacted in writing or visited and given the opportunity to respond to the allegation, advice will be given.
  • You will be contacted with some advice and if appropriate you will be sent diary sheets to record how the problem develops.
  • If we are informed that the situation has not improved, further steps will be taken
  • The second contact to the subject of the complaint will tend to be more formally worded and if appropriate it may contain a formal Community Protection Warning.
  • Complainants may need to assist with the process of evidence gathering using methods such as diary sheets, witness statements and monitoring equipment.
  • Depending on the evidence gathered, formal action may be considered.
  • Formal action could comprise the service of a Nuisance Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or a Community Protection Notice under the Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Act.
  • These notices are binding legal documents and failure to comply with them can lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court, Fixed Penalty Notices being served, or work being carried out at the expense of the person responsible.

More information can be found in our Nuisance and Antisocial Behaviour Guide.

The Environmental Health Team are not seeking to prosecute people or carry out enforcement action.  The goal is to resolve informally and to resolve problems before they escalate.

Taking your own informal action

An informal pleasant approach by yourself to the person responsible for the nuisance or antisocial behaviour could resolve the matter without involving the need for a formal complaint. In most cases this is the most effective way of dealing with such a problem and the least damaging to relationships.

There is also a mediation service serving West Sussex, where trained mediators can help to resolve a variety of disagreements and misunderstandings between people.   West Sussex Mediation Service  website.

Taking your own legal action

It is not always possible for the Council to obtain the necessary information or evidence required to take formal action, or indeed the council may come to the view that the noise about which you are complaining does not amount to Statutory Nuisance. This could be where the noise is, for example, intermittent or unpredictable.

In such cases section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows you to take your own action against a person causing an alleged nuisance.

You are advised to seek advice and information before embarking on this course of action. Keep diary records detailing when the nuisance occurs and how it effects you. An independent witness would also be useful.

Once you have gathered sufficient evidence you should go to the Clerk's office at the Magistrates Court and explain that you wish to make a complaint under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. You will need your evidence to show that you have a case to argue.

The Clerk will advise you that you must give the person responsible three days written notice that you intend complaining direct to the Magistrates Court. You should ensure that your records, and those of any witnesses, are kept up to date and that your witnesses are prepared to support you in court.

A date will then be set for the case to be heard and a summons will be served on the 'offender'. In court you will be required to present your case and the offender will be able to cross-examine you.

If the Magistrate is convinced that your case is justified, they will make a court order requiring the nuisance to be abated, and prohibiting its recurrence. The Court may also impose a fine on the 'offender'.

If the order is ignored, you will need to keep further records and if necessary return to court with your evidence.

Noise from Goodwood Motor Circuit and Aerodrome

For detailed information concerning the motor circuit and aerodrome, please see the following documents.