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Public health nuisance

Advice on what we can do about a public health nuisance

We will investigate complaints about issues that could be regarded as a statutory nuisance. This includes things like:

  • drainage issues resulting in the discharge of sewage or waste water
  • accumulations of refuse which could provide harbourage for rodents
  • smells coming from commercial premises
  • damaged areas of fencing around closed quarries that could constitute a danger to members of the public
  • light pollution
  • some types of noise nuisance

If we receive a complaint alleging that a public health nuisance exists we need to witness the issue and then use our professional judgement to assess if we think it is severe enough to fall within the definition of a nuisance set down in law.

This is generally an issue which may be harmful to health or could be regarded as a public health nuisance. This legislation does not include harm to property.

If we decide that a nuisance does exist in terms of the legislation we would initially try to resolve the situation informally. If this does not work then we do have powers to serve a legal notice requiring the person responsible for the nuisance to abate the nuisance. If they then fail to comply with the notice they could be prosecuted.

If your complaint or enquiry relates to a defective main sewer or water wastage please contact Scottish Water or call 0845 601 8855.

If your complaint or enquiry is about a waste carrier, transfer or disposal issue, or the pollution of a water course through surface water or ground water contamination, please contact the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) or call 0800 807060.

Page last updated:
14 Dec 2020

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