A couple from Aberdeenshire who had been troubled for many years by noise from one of three turbines near their home have successfully argued that the noise constitutes a nuisance at common law and under The Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Mr and Mrs Milne had complained of noise akin to that of a jet engine which frightened their horse and had a significant impact on Mrs Milne’s peace of mind and quality of life. The couple had to alter their sleeping arrangements and spent considerable periods away from their property in order to gain some respite. In response to concerns expressed by Mrs Milne, Aberdeenshire Council served an Abatement Notice on the defenders. When the notice was not enforced, the couple were left with no option but to raise proceedings.
The Sheriff found that the combined effect of the volume and character of the noise emitted by the turbines situated on the defender’s land would not be tolerated by a reasonable person and did amount to a nuisance at common law. The Sheriff also affirmed that the noise amounted to a statutory nuisance within the meaning of s79(1) (g) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Crucially, the Sheriff also declared that the couple were ‘persons aggrieved’ by the existence of a statutory nuisance in terms of section 82(1) of the Act and so the court was required to issue an Abatement Order. The specific terms of the order were determined after hearing further submissions. Failing to comply with the terms of notice is a criminal offence.
This case highlights a little known but relatively simple method those aggrieved by statutory nuisances can take matters into their own hands.