How the council can silence noise-makers
THE council's public protection service has far-reaching powers allowing it to use secret recording gear, seize noisy equipment and even seek ASBOs.
Local authorities have a legal duty to investigate noise complaints. The first step officers take is to hold talks with both parties. If advice is ignored, a full investigation will get under way so the local authority can gather hard evidence of the claims.
Among the methods used to take a decibel-count and to monitor the impact of the alleged nuisance are planned visits by council officers – both at day and in the evenings.
The city council also has the power to install specialist recording equipment.
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Once the council is satisfied there is a problem it can use the Environmental Protection Act, the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act and the Licensing Act to begin enforcement. It can issue an abatement notice on the culprits, effectively banning them from making certain levels of noise at stated times.
If the notice is breached, the authority has the power to prosecute – and that can land those convicted with fines of up to £5,000 for each offence. Industrial or business cases, meanwhile, can be hit by fines of up to £20,000.
Only if breaches continue will the council seize the offending equipment – such as stereos or TVs – and go to court to apply for it to be disposed of.
In the most serious cases, the council can apply for an Anti Social Behaviour Order on conviction, giving police the power to arrest the offender if they continue to make noise.