Statutory nuisance under the Public Health Act

The provisions of the Public Health Act 1936 concerning statutory nuisances provide local authorities with extensive powers to control many forms of pollution. But both the terms used in the legislation and existing case-law raise considerable doubts as to the precise scope of these powers.

In Wivenhoe Port Ltd v Colchester Borough Council (Chelmsford Crown Court, 30 March 84, unreported), the court was faced with the task of resolving these ambiguities. The analysis of the law contained in the lengthy judgment of His Honour Judge Butler (sitting with a Bench of Justices) has important implications for environmental health officers, and suggests that scope for action under the 1936 Act is strictly limited.

The defenda

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