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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71142
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, my neighbour is regularly pouring very large quantities

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Hi, my neighbour is regularly pouring very large quantities of neat bleach, Jeyes fluid and other foaming, powdered and liquid 'biotoxins' onto our adjoining fence and into the soil under the fence. He uses it in such large quantities that it renders our garden unusable for 24 to 48 hours every time he puts it down, plus it has caused my husband and I health issues such as sore throats, sneezing, coughing and stinging and watering eyes. The odour is absolutely unbearable and we have to close all of our windows every time he does it - unfortunately the back fence is only 20ft or so from our house. I suffer from chronic, systemic auto-immune disease and there is a clear correlation between him putting these toxins down (around every two to three weeks) and me having a flare-up of my condition. In addition, it is affecting many of our plants, which are starting to die, plus he is deliberately killing all of the plants on his side, which include several 30 foot hawthorns and a very large amount of ivy, so that our view has gone from lovely and green to brown, yellow and dead. All of this is because he has rats apparently and he blames our bird feeders, even though they are 100% rodent proof, something which he has acknowledged himself when he has come round to inspect them. We have already agreed to stop putting food anywhere that it may be accessible to rodents. We have never seen a rat in our garden at all. At the very least, he is destroying our peaceful enjoyment of our property. Is there anything that can be done legally to stop this use of large amount of toxic waste please? I have seen on-line that there is an act called the Environmental Protection Act 1990 but I am not sure whether this applies? Any advice would be very gratefully received. Thanks.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not sure I understand your question, but I want to know if I can legally make him stop using the biotoxins as I outlined in my original question?

Do you know if the council have issued him with any improvement notices about the rats please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not to my knowledge - he is the only one who has seen the rats and he is the only one complaining about them. He has not spoken to anyone else about them but us I believe.


Obivously he is entitled to take action to remove rats although I'm not sure I can immediately see how putting down toxic waste to kill plants would achieve that. It seems to be that if he has a rat infestation then he needs a professional company to resolve that and, if he blames you, then he can sue you for the cost although that makes no sense either because if its caused by your feeders then the infestation should be in your garden.

In any event, the substances that you mention are not on the toxic substances list. But the fact remains that he is using them in a way that is killing your plants which is a simple monetary claim against him.

You could complain to Environmental Health at the Council which is free to do and they may have an interest in this matter. They would certainly have an interest in his apparent rat infestation.

You could also write to him or get a solicitor to write to him warning him of the need to stop to face legal action. That would probably be about £50-£100 plus VAT and it is often very effective.

Failing that you could sue for the cost of your plant life. The actual value is always hard to ascertain but its possible to arrive at a figure.

You could also consider suing for personal injury if you are having an adverse reaction although its worth trying ever method possible first as that can be expensive and hazardous.

In terms of stopping him, it is quite unlikely that you would get an injunction stopping him using these substances entirely. It is possible that you could get an injunction that restricts his capacity to do so if you can prove the personal injury or destruction of plant life.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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