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nuisance

An activity or state of affairs that interferes with the use or enjoyment of land or rights over land (private nuisance) or with the health, safety, comfort, or property of the public at large (public nuisance). Private nuisance is a tort, protecting the occupier of land from damage to his land, buildings, or vegetation or unreasonable interference with his comfort or convenience by excessive noise, dust, fumes, smells, etc. The occupier’s main remedies are damages and an injunction. Alternatively he has a limited right to abate (i.e. remove) the nuisance himself.

Public nuisance is a crime. At common law it includes such activities as *obstruction of the highway, carrying on an offensive trade, and selling food unfit for human consumption. Statutory nuisances are created by provisions dealing with noise, public health, and the control of pollution. The Attorney-General may bring a civil action for an injunction on behalf of the public but a private citizen may obtain damages in tort only if he can prove some special damage over and above that suffered by the public at large.

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