Before you purchase a property, it is wise to make sure you are aware of the implications of any permitted uses of the land surrounding it. A recent case, in which the courts declined to prevent a landowner from carrying out activities which, although they caused a nuisance to neigbours, constituted 'permitted use' of the land, illustrates this.
The case concerned residents of a Hertfordshire estate who found their lives blighted by the smell emanating from a landfill site. They went to court to force the company operating the site to cease making the nuisance, bringing more than 30 claims in all.
In a ruling which criticised the Environment Agency for doing no more than ‘paying lip service’ to the protestors’ complaints, Judge Coulson was nevertheless forced to conclude that carrying out the permitted activities of waste disposal, which were performed in accordance with the permission granted to the company, was all that could be expected of a reasonable user of the land. In the absence of any proven negligence by the company in carrying out their management of the site, the claims did not succeed.