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Service of a noise abatement notice

I have received a noise abatement notice through the post, what should I do?

Q:  I own a quiet rural pub, but once a month we have a live music event which results in us being very busy indeed with people travelling from further afield.  We had such an event a couple of weeks ago and I came into the business this morning to discover a letter from the Local Authority enclosing a “Noise Abatement Notice”.  What should I do?

A:  Noise Abatement Notice is normally served when there has been a problem involving disturbance to local residents either due to the noise from customers or noise from some form of entertainment within the premises.  The Notice ought to specify the detail of the nuisance complained of i.e. “live music” or “arising from amplified music” or something of that nature.  It should also specify the remedial action to be taken and provide a time limit which may simply be “immediately”.  Such notices are normally served after some sort of informal intervention by an Environmental Health Officer although this is not always the case.  Environmental Health Officers are under a duty to take action if a nuisance arises and they can go straight to the noise abatement notice without warning.  It is important to realise that you do have a limited period of time (namely 21 days) to appeal against the notice and if you do not it will remain in place without time limit.  It may be worth taking legal advice on the legality of the notice and the potential for appealing against it but the priority here is to engage quickly with the Environmental Health Officer, find out exactly what the problem is that has given rise to the notice and see if they are prepared to offer any advice on what you might do to prevent further problems.  It may simply be a case of having the music at a lower volume or there may be some simple managerial steps which can be undertaken to mitigate the situation for example, keeping doors and windows closed during live music.

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