Noise and nuisance
Noise is an inevitable consequence of today’s society, comprising natural and man-made sources. Noise is subjective and defined as ‘unwanted sound’, as such one person’s noise is another person’s sound. Noise is subdivided into environmental noise (covering road, rail, air transport noise), neighbourhood noise (from people and activities eg pubs, clubs, barking dogs and music lessons) and neighbour noise. Neighbourhood and neighbour noise may be found to be a nuisance. The cost of noise pollution in the UK from environmental noise alone is estimated to be between £7 billion and £10 billion per year. This figure comprises annoyance to the public, the adverse health effects that can be quantified and loss of productivity.
Statutory Nuisance covers many types of nuisance including neighbour and neighbourhood noise, artificial light, dust, odour and insects. Circumstances may only be found to be a Statutory Nuisance, and action may be taken to deal with it, where it can be concluded the test of prejudicial to health or a nuisance is met (ie interfering with a person’s ordinary use or enjoyment of land). It should be noted Statutory Nuisance is limited to ‘the ordinary person’ ie someone who is not unusually sensitive.
The case for government action
- Local authorities have a duty to manage neighbourhood noise and nuisance and a responsible for the implementation of these policies under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
- 42% of people feel noise affects their private home life. (Noise Attitude Survey 1999/2000).
- Noise not only affects the quality of life, there is also emerging evidence it also directly affects health, particularly cardiovascular impacts.
- Other nuisances such as artificial light, dust, odour and insects are also known to affect people’s quality of life.
- In their 2009 report, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) expressed concern about the potential for artificial light to have an adverse ecological impact and called for further research.
- Government is responsible for disseminating information regarding noise and nuisance policy and providing a supporting role to local authorities.
- The government through, local authorities, is required to identify and protect quiet areas in order to improve quality of life
The Noise Policy Statement for England provides the framework for noise management decisions to be made that ensure noise levels do not place an unacceptable burden on society.
If you are suffering from noise polution we are here to help. Please give us a call and have a chat and see what we can do.