Nuisance Neighbours

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Nuisance Neighbours

'What would be a nuisance in Belgrave Square would not necessarily be so in Bermondsey’ – Sturges v Bridgman (1879)

A recent judgment has reinforced when considering a claim for nuisance, a neighbour being noisy and disruptive will not be enough for a successful claim. The judge will consider many other factors when making a decision, including the nature of the location.

In Jones & Anor v Ministry of Defence (2021), the claimants purchased farmland next door to Mona Airfield, which had been used by the Royal Air Force as a relief landing ground and runway. They then began to develop the land to create a holiday park. The claimants argued there was a change in flight patterns and frequency in 2007 and that, as a result of that change, they had suffered nuisance resulting from the noise.

The judge dismissed the nuisance claim, finding no change had occurred to the flight patterns since 2007 and that the evidence indicated that the noise of aircraft flying circuits, which went back several decades, was an established pattern of use that was considered as part of the nature of the locality.

The judge found that the claimants could not argue nuisance in circumstances, where the nuisance only arose as a result of their change of use of the land.

This case serves as a good reminder that when the courts consider interference with the enjoyment of land, they undertake a balancing exercise and a big part of this assessment will be the nature of the location in which the alleged nuisance complained of is taking place.

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