Noisy neighbours face new crackdown

ENVIRONMENTAL health chiefs are clamping down on noisy neighbours after a rise in complaints.Over the past 12 months, noise levels in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding areas have risen by 15%, with an average of 700 complaints being made to St Edmundsbury Borough Council per year.

ENVIRONMENTAL health chiefs are clamping down on noisy neighbours after a rise in complaints.

Over the past 12 months, noise levels in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding areas have risen by 15%, with an average of 700 complaints being made to St Edmundsbury Borough Council per year.

The increase mirrors a national trend, with residents up and down the country suffering at the hands of their fellow citizens.

But the council's environmental health officers are stepping up their fight against noise with the warning that repeat offenders could have equipment seized, or even be prosecuted.


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Richard Whitehead, principal environmental health officer, said: “We do get more complaints in the summer than in the winter months - the majority of which are domestic - because people tend to sit outside a lot more, and leave their windows open.

“But there are a lot of other reasons, including the fact people are more keen to complain now than they were, and sound systems are more noisy than ever before.”

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Over the past six months, the council has handed out around 10 noise abatement notices, including one to a Bury resident who insisted on playing his electric guitar.

“Following continuing breaches of a noise abatement notice, we applied to the courts for a warrant and last week confiscated the guitar and amplifier, which we will hold for 28 days and then give back to him,” said Mr Whitehead.

“Normally a notice is enough for people to get the message, but if all else fails then we could try and get a prosecution through the courts.”

The Government Department For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA), is currently developing a Neighbourhood Noise Strategy, looking at ways to improve neighbourhood and neighbour noise management at national, regional and local level.

The organisation, on its website, said: “It is a fact of life that we all do things which can have an impact on our neighbours and on the quality of the local environment. Whether we are playing music, having a bonfire or own a dog that constantly barks. Consideration and awareness are the key to making sure your actions are not a problem for others.”

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