Noise from commercial premises
Complaints about noise from commercial premises are investigated in the same way as domestic premises. The difference is that in some cases the noise generated from some commercial premises is an unavoidable consequence of the nature of the work carried out. However the business would need to show that it has done all that is reasonably practicable to reduce noise breakout to neighbouring properties. The investigating officer can recommend ways to reduce noise but these must not place an unreasonable burden on the business in terms of cost or the efficiency of the business.
It is a defence in any court proceedings relating to noise arising on industrial, trade or business premises to prove that best practicable means have been used to prevent or counteract the effect of the noise. This recognises that there can be technical and other limitations as far as the business is concerned.
Codes of practice for noise minimisation
Codes of practice give advice about the minimisation of problems caused by potentially noisy activities. Courts must have regard to relevant codes approved by the Secretary of State when considering the defence of best practicable means.
Some codes deal with noise such as that from construction sites, audible alarms, ice cream van chimes and model aircraft, while other codes offer advice on how to reduce the effects of noisy activities ranging from music concerts to off-road motorcycling.
The code of practice on environmental noise control at music concerts recommends that a music event organiser appoints a noise consultant to assess the background noise levels between the proposed venue and those living nearby who are likely to be affected by noise. Guideline noise levels are given in the code that the organiser must achieve. Sound equipment is then positioned to minimise noise disturbance and the sound level can then be set to ensure compliance with guideline levels. Environmental health officers work with organisers and consultants to ensure that noise disturbance is kept to a minimum.
Issues of noise are often controlled by the Premises Licence, which most large events (those with over 499 people attending) will require.
Loudspeakers in the street
Section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 gives us powers to deal with loudspeakers in the street.
Using loudspeakers in the street for advertising, entertainments or business is banned and for other uses is restricted to the hours between 8am and 9pm. In certain circumstances we may allow their use for non-advertising purposes outside 8am to 9pm.
Organisations such as the police, ambulance and fire brigades are exempt.
To report a noise problem in Aylesbury Vale, please click here to complete our form.
Date Updated: 16/12/11