Noise Nuisance and Your Personal Rights
Noise nuisance can be a very irritating and disturbing occurrence, with excessive levels of noise affecting the quality of life for many individuals and families across the UK. There are legislations in place to deal with cases of noise nuisance, considering all types of cases such as music, parties, construction and machinery noise, as well as various other noise nuisance issues.
Permitted Noise Levels
The level of noise allowed for different activities can vary, depending on numerous factors, and being unaware of laws or permitted noise levels is not a good enough excuse. It is the responsibility of the individual or organisation involved to research the permitted noise levels before holding an event or undertaking an activity, ensuing that they aren’t making excessive amounts of noise. Excessive noise nuisance would be classed as such when the noise has an impact upon health or where it is affecting the quality of people’s lives.
Before contacting the local authorities to make a complaint, it is advised that you contact those responsible for the noise and look to find a suitable resolution that suits both parties. If this is not achievable, the next step would be for you to contact the relevant authorities and lodge your complaint, informing them of all of the relevant information.
Complaining to the Local Authority
Having made your complaint regarding the noise nuisance, the local authority will then have the responsibility of conducting an investigation. Within this investigation, an Environmental Health Officer will assess the situation, relating to buildings, vehicles, construction sites and machinery. Once the complaint has been investigated, the officer will determine whether they think the noise is a particular nuisance to you and others around you, taking further action where necessary, such as through the use of abatement notices.
Should the officer determine that the noise isn’t a statutory nuisance, you are entitled to challenge their decision. You could look to make a formal complaint to your local authority, or contact a senior member of the authority to seek help from your councillor, should the formal complaint be unsuccessful. If you are still not successful, you may be able to take the case directly to a magistrate’s court, of which you would need substantial evidence to show that the case is indeed a complaint in relation to statutory noise nuisance.
Compliance with Abatement Notices
An Environmental Health Officer will try to find a resolution by working with those responsible for the noise nuisance before issuing an abatement notice; however a notice must be issued if this is not achieved within one week. If an abatement notice is indeed issued, those responsible for the noise may have to stop or reduce the noise, or at least only generate the noise during a specific period of time. Failure to comply with such abatement notices will be seen as an offence, involving the police, the courts and coming with potential penalty notices of up to £5000 for individuals and £20,000 for businesses. Failure to comply with the abatement notice will also give power to an Environmental Health Officer that will allow them to enter the property and seize the equipment generating the noise.
For more information on the law surrounding noise nuisance, please contact regulatory law and licensing law barrister Stuart Jessop.