A statutory nuisance is an act that causes unreasonable disturbance to the use and enjoyment of your property. (For example, if you experience regular intrusive loud music from a neighbouring property.)
Many people believe that they can blare loud music out all day, as long as they turn it down at 11pm. This is not true. There are no set times or levels which determine whether noise is causing a statutory nuisance. We use our professional judgement to decide whether the noise in question is causing an unreasonable disturbance to the use and enjoyment of your property.
We have to investigate complaints of alleged noise nuisance. If we receive a complaint we must take reasonable steps to investigate that complaint. If we think a statutory noise nuisance exists, is likely to happen, or is likely to be repeated, then we can serve a Noise Abatement Notice. This is a legal document that requires the noise to be stopped immediately, or within a specific time.
How do we investigate your complaint?
In most cases we will well try to personally witness the noise. In order to do this we have staff on duty whose job it is to respond to noise complaints. We also have an ‘out of hours’ noise service, which allows us to witness night-time noise incidents.
We use digital monitoring equipment that can be installed in your property. This is only used to record incidents of noise that are causing a nuisance and is not used for any other purpose.
In all cases of noise nuisance you are required to complete a noise record sheet. You should write down the times and the effects of the alleged noise. Accurate and fully completed noise records can be used as evidence in the investigation, and may be used in any legal action.
What happens if you cause a noise nuisance?
A Noise Abatement Notice will be served on you if we think that the noise you are making is a nuisance. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 says that: “A witnessed contravention of this notice is an offence and will result in legal proceedings in a magistrates court, where fines of up to £5,000 per offence can be issued. Each witnessed contravention of the notice can be deemed a separate offence.”
If you continue to make a noise nuisance, we have the power to enter your property and seize all equipment capable of causing the noise. This could be your stereo system, CDs and television.
Finally, we don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, we just want you to think about the noise you may be making and to ‘tone it down’ if it’s disturbing your neighbours. We will take action against those people who refuse to do this.