Published: 12 February 2015
Q: I have just had a visit from an Environmental Health Officer who handed me a letter together with another document which he referred to as a ‘Noise Abatement Notice’. He told me that a local resident has been complaining about noise from my premises and that he was satisfied that it is excessive and has therefore taken this action. He says if there are any further noise problems then I could end up in Court. Is this correct?
A: The short answer is yes. A Noise Abatement Notice requires you to cease the type of noise specified in the Notice (for example, from live or amplified music) and if you breach the terms of the Notice then you may be prosecuted through the Magistrates’ Court with a potential fine of up to £20,000 per breach. There is normally some form of dialogue prior to service of the Notice but there need not be. An Environmental Health Officer is deemed under the legislation to be capable of determining what is a nuisance and what is not and is under a positive duty to take action should a nuisance arise. There is a right of appeal against the Notice which must be done within 21 days of its service but it would be prudent to take legal advice as this is a technical area with very specific statutory grounds of appeal. The bottom line is that you must try to work with Environmental Health to find a solution that enables you to run your business without causing disturbance to local residents.
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