Waveney District Council

Don't suffer in silence

Published on 16th June 2011

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Consumer magazine 'Which?' has found that at least five million people are annoyed with their neighbour. But with a quarter failing to take action, Waveney is urging people not to suffer in silence.

The research, published on June 16, found noise tops the list of neighbour complaints with around three in five people annoyed by loud voices or arguing, blaring music and TVs. At least five million people are currently annoyed with their neighbour, and over 10 million have had a neighbour problem in the last year.

'Which?' goes on to explain that local authorities have powers to step in and with longer evenings and warmer weather, Waveney's out of hours summer hotline is now live to deal with incidents of noise nuisance.

Too much noise can reduce a person's quality of life and, in some cases completely destroy it. Everybody has a different tolerance level to noise and the Council believes that consideration for the effect of noise on others is extremely important.

Andrew Reynolds, Waveney's Principal Environmental Health Officer said: "The problem is especially severe in the summer, when open windows and doors make us all more susceptible to noises in the neighbourhood. Many of us live in close quarters with our neighbours and we depend on them to be considerate. However, loud parties, barbecues, or simply turning up the stereo in the house so that it can be heard in the garden can all adversely affect others during the summer months. The same applies to car stereos and entertainment noise from pubs and clubs."

The Environmental Protection Team expects to deal with around 700 complaints of noise nuisance each year and most during the summer months. Waveney's weekend evening hotline is available at weekends from 7pm to 1am on Fridays & Saturdays, and from 7pm to midnight on Sundays and Bank Holidays, by calling 01502 515 435. Noise complaints can also be reported during the normal working day by phoning 01502 562111.

Some incidents will result in legal action being taken against the perpetrators. This ranges from the serving of an abatement notice to prosecution. In addition, officers can enter premises, confiscate equipment or make application to magistrates for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

When equipment is seized, the Council makes an application to the Magistrates' Court for a "forfeiture order", which permanently deprives the perpetrators of their amplification equipment.

Andrew Reynolds added: "This may seem harsh, however noise is one of the most unpleasant pollutants because it causes stress, loss of sleep, high blood pressure and in extreme cases, outbursts of violence. It can be difficult to deal with because it leaves no detectable residue, so we can't visit the following day to assess it.

"This is why Government guidance requires us to provide an appropriate response outside normal office hours and this summertime weekend evening hotline is of great assistance. Above all though, our message is for people to be considerate of others. Waveney takes noise pollution very seriously and we will be there to assist affected residents."

Read the the full report from 'Which?'  

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