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Last edited 24 Nov 2020
Best practicable means
Best practicable means (BPM) is a widely-used defence that is available against statutory nuisance actions relating to trade or business premises. It is available both as a defence against prosecution and as grounds for appeal.
Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 defines BPM as:
- ‘Practicable’ means reasonably practicable in terms of local conditions/circumstances, the current state of technical knowledge, and financial implications.
- ‘Means’ refers to the ‘design, installation, maintenance and manner and periods of operation of plant and machinery, and the design, construction and maintenance of buildings and structures.’
The defence of BPM does not negate the existence of a statutory nuisance, rather it recognises that the defendant should not be held liable for it since they have taken the ‘best practicable means’ to either prevent or counteract the effects of the nuisance. It is only applicable as far as it is compatible with any legally-imposed duty and has to conform with safety requirements.
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