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A definition is found at ==Archbold 31-40==:
"A person is guilty of a public nuisance (also known as common nuisance), who
- (a) does an act not warranted by law, or
- (b) omits to discharge a legal duty, if the effect of the act or omission is to endanger the life, health, property, morals, or comfort of the public, or to obstruct the public in the exercise or enjoyment of rights common to all Her Majesty's subjects."
At common law, public nuisance is both a crime and a Tort. The crime is committed whenever the defendant performs an act without lawful authority, or omits to discharge a duty imposed by law, with the effect of endangering the life or health of members of the public generally, or preventing people enjoying rights generally available to the public.
As a crime, it is the responsibility of the state (usually, in this case, in the person of the Attorney-general) to take action against a person who creates a public nuisance. It is open to an individual to petition the attorney-general to act on his behalf.
A private individual can normally take action in the tort of public nuisance only if he has suffered loss, damage, or incovenience above and beyond that of the public at large. However, unlike PrivateNuisance, the tort of public nuisance does not require that the claimant have an interest in land.
Examples of public nuisance restrained by the the courts have included: obstruction of roads and waterways; allowing birds to congregate on buildings to the extent that neighbouring properties are damaged; emission of soot or noxious substances from industrial plant; operation of a sex shop in a residential street; and allowing golf balls to be hit into the street.