Industrial and Commercial Noise
Noise complaints about industrial, commercial or entertainment premises are dealt with under Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as a Statutory Nuisance. This legislation covers ongoing and frequent noise problems and not one off events.
In terms of noise complaints relating to an industrial process, our aim is to visit the premises to make the company aware of the problem and try to identify the potential source of the noise. Once we know what is causing the problem we work with the company to reduce the noise to a more reasonable level. However, there are occasions where there is no reasonable solution to the problem due to either the nature of the business, cost or available technology and in these instances we will work with the company to ensure that the best available methods are used to keep the noise to a minimum.
Whilst there are no set noise levels above which a noise will become a statutory nuisance, the team may use a sound level meter to help determine the decibel levels and the characteristics of the noise i.e. high or low frequency. This is to help identify the source, quantify the scale of the problem and to determine the amount of improvement after works have been undertaken by the company.
The main sources of noise from industrial processes are due to fans, generators, vehicles (both movement on site and deliveries to the site), equipment and working hours. Whilst the team aims to try and resolve all complaints informally there are times when the service of a formal notice is required to resolve the problem. If the company fails to comply with the notice, the only option is to pursue the matter in the Courts which can take a considerable amount time. On occasions, after an officer has investigated the noise, it may be their professional opinion that the noise level is not severe enough to be classed as a Statutory Nuisance, in which case all parties will be informed and the case closed.
When taking legal action, the company MUST be given a reasonable amount of time to resolve the issue. This can be a long process, especially if planning permission or other permissions are required to install a solution to the problem. The investigating officer will keep you informed of timescales as the case is progressed.
Contact the Environmental Protection Team using either our Report a Noise Complaint form or via telephone 0300 123 5015.