Noise Abatement | Legal Advice For SMEs

Very few businesses wish to purposefully make noise. Noise is usually a necessary characteristic of other commercial necessities, but can be considered as both a private and public nuisance. This means that both the authorities and individuals can take action against the creator of the noise, even if the action causing it is perfectly legal.

Consider, for example, a business that requires generators to provide additional energy. It may be necessary for the business to have the generator in order to provide the energy, but the noise may be causing a nuisance.

What Will Happen?

If your site is found to be making noise, it must first be considered whether it is ‘a nuisance’. If it is, a claimant may take civil action in order to claim damages. If you believe that the claimant may be successful in their claim, you may decide to settle. Otherwise, the matter can proceed in the criminal court and a civil judgement will make an order.

As well as being considered a nuisance as above, the noise may also be considered a statutory nuisance. The statutory noise regime is governed by the Local Authority and can be an arduous legal argument for a SME to be involved in.

Various categories of nuisance are set out in statute, and the Local Authority must prove that the nuisance sits within one of those categories. Therefore, an Environmental Health Officer will visit your business premises (without your prior knowledge) and indicate whether or not a statutory nuisance is being committed.

Creating statutory nuisance is not an offence, so if the Environmental Health Officer believes that such a nuisance is being committed, they will serve you with an Abatement Notice. Although there is no legal requirement, it is likely that the EHO will negotiate and inform a relevant person within your business prior to serving the notice.

The Notice will usually provide a detailed timescale of when the noise is required to be abated. If the noise is not abated by that stage, criminal proceedings can be commenced against the business. The Local Authority also has the power to undertake the necessary works and reclaim the money from the business and / or request an injunction.

How Can We Help?

Our expert team of solicitors has extensive experience in acting for businesses in relation to noise issues. We can advise you on what constitutes a noise nuisance and work alongside specialist consultants to establish a practical and logical way to ensure that the noise is abated as necessary.

We can offer a clear pricing structure in relation to both civil and statutory nuisance matters and provide you with clear advice which can assist in ensuring that similar matters do not reoccur.

Who Should You Contact?

For any advice in relation to noise issues – advisory, civil or regulatory, please contact our team on 0370 1500 100 or get in touch online.

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