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Wandsworth London Borough Council v Rail Track Plc H.C

18 October 2000
The issues

Nuisance – Wild Animals on Property – Land Owners Responsibility

The facts

Rail Track owned a bridge over Balham High Road. Pigeons congregated underneath the bridge. Their droppings “affected” pedestrians who passed under the bridge. Wandsworth sued Rail Track for: –

1. Public nuisance
2. Private nuisance
3. Negligence

The decision

The Pigeon infestation and consequent fouling of the footpath amounted to a nuisance. The pigeons “substantially interfered with the comfort and convenience of the public”.

Rail Track made no unnatural or unreasonable use of its land.

The case fell squarely within the category of “liability for things naturally on land”.

Although Raul Track had no control over the general pigeon population, it could have prevented pigeons roosting under the bridge. Although Rail Track had not caused the nuisance they had failed to remedy it within a reasonable time or at all. There was no distinction in law between nuisances consisting of physical damage to property and inconvenience or interference with comfort. The public nuisance had been proved.

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