Statutory nuisance: East Staffordshire Borough Council v Fairless (14 October 1998) High Court, Queen's Bench Division

United Kingdom
Mr Fairless, a council tenant, sent a letter to East Staffordshire Borough Council informing it that the premises occupied by him were prejudicial to the health of the occupants and constituted a statutory nuisance under Section 79(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He instituted proceedings for an abatement order under Section 82(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and a summons was issued on 5th January 1998. The magistrates found there had been a statutory nuisance in existence at the date of laying the information, but that this had been abated by the 5th January. The information was dismissed but the magistrates made an order that the Council pay Mr Fairless' costs under Section 82(12).

The Council appealed on the grounds that the tenant had not served a valid warning notice under Section 82(6), neither specifying the works required to remedy the complaint nor identifying the capacity in which the proposed defendant was to be proceeded against.

The appeal was dismissed. It was held that there was no prescribed form for a notice under Section 82(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 expressly sets out the requirements for an abatement notice and it was not necessary to imply additional requirements. The warning notice must specify the matter which is being complained of but there is no need for it to specify measures necessary to abate the nuisance, nor to state the capacity in which the proposed defendant was being requested to abate the nuisance. The award of costs pursuant to Section 82(12) was upheld. ([1998] All ER (D) 456)