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Commercial Noise

Noise from commercial premises is often dealt with in the same way as that from domestic premises.

Sometimes people at work or at home are disturbed by noise which originates from commercial or industrial premises. Examples are machinery noise, fan noises, vehicle movements, alarms and radios. Where these occur continuously or loudly, or when they are new noises, they can be very annoying.

However, in some cases we may not need to prove a statutory nuisance where the premises hold a public entertainment licence.  These licences are issued in order to ensure that the disturbance caused to the general public is kept to a minimum. Action can be taken against premises that operate outside of its licensing agreement.

Construction site noise

Construction sites are a very common source of noise pollution.  This covers inherently noisy operations – building works, roadworks, demolition, dredging etc. They often take place in areas which were quiet beforehand and are expected to be quiet again when the work is complete.

Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, Local Authorities can serve a notice imposing requirements as to how the construction works should be carried out to minimise disturbance. The Environmental Protection Section can set noise limits and restrict the hours which particular machinery is operated, taking into account the character of the local area. Anyone intending to carry out construction works may apply in advance for consent. Compliance with the terms of a notice or consent does not rule out proceedings by an individual on the grounds of noise nuisance under s.82 of the Environmental Protection Act.

Construction sites and contractors may be registered with the Considerate Constructors scheme, a voluntary code of practice intended to minimise disturbance and ensure safety. Where this is the case, a sign or poster is normally displayed at the site with contact details for the site manager and scheme administration office.

Generally, noisy construction operations should be restricted to the following hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:00am to 6.00pm
  • Saturday: 8.00am to 1.00pm
  • No noisy work on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

If you are a company planning to do construction work, it would be advisable to give notice to the Environmental Protection Team. You should also inform all local residents of your plans.

Noise from pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues

Most public entertainment venues will have a license which should control the way in which certain activities are run. These may have conditions attached to them which require specific measures to minimise noise such as restrictions on hours of operation.

For further information, visit the Licensing web pages.

Bird scarers

Bird scarers and bird deterrents are essential to protect many crops from damage by wild birds. However if used thoughtlessly they can seriously annoy and disturb the public.

As a minimum, operators of bird scarers should:                       

  • Place the scarer as far away from residential properties as possible, point them in the opposite direction and use baffles.
  • Avoid using auditory scarers within 200m of sensitive buildings before 7am (or 6am if sunrise is earlier)
  • Take note of the prevailing wind when siting scarers.
  • Use reflective or absorbent baffles (e.g. straw bales) to concentrate the sound onto the field and away from neighbouring properties.
  • Try not to use auditory scarers on a Sunday