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Noise nuisance on the rise

PUBLISHED: 23:00 23 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 March 2010

LOUD music, car alarms and barking dogs – neighbourhood noise isn't just annoying, it's bad for your health.

Frayed tempers are just the tip of the health iceberg according to John Grayling of Mid Suffolk Coastal District Council who said there was an indisputable link between noise and health.

LOUD music, car alarms and barking dogs – neighbourhood noise isn't just annoying, it's bad for your health.

Frayed tempers are just the tip of the health iceberg according to John Grayling of Mid Suffolk Coastal District Council who said there was an indisputable link between noise and health.

"Nuisance noise can be detrimental to people's well-being," said Mr Grayling, environmental control manager.

"Whilst the actual impact of noise nuisance varies from person to person, raised blood pressure, insomnia and high stress levels are just three common symptoms of short term and prolonged exposure to high noise levels," he said.

Complaints are on the increase.

According to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, complaints about domestic noise rose about 5% between 1996/7 and 1997/8. This was a trend confirmed by Mid Suffolk District Council's latest figures on noise pollution.

They received over 300 noise related complaints between April 2001 and March 2002, an average of about one a day. Of those, neighbour-noise nuisance such as loud music or raised voices comprise 39% of the overall complaints.

The complaints about noise pollution have increased incrementally every year by an average of 6.3%, although the number of complaints rose a staggering 27.6% between 1999/00 to 2000/01.

Noise complaints are also seasonally affected.

"We receive the most complaints around this time of year," said Mr Grayling. When the weather improves, it's easy to throw open the windows and enjoy the summer air – fine if you don't have the stereo on but if you do, your neighbours might not share your taste in music, particularly if it's played at loud volume.

There are active steps people can take to combat noise pollution according to Mid Suffolk District Council.

The first step, particularly where noisy neighbours are concerned, would be to approach them outlining the problem.

"People are often totally unaware that they are causing a problem and will happily comply to a request about turning the stereo down," said Mr Grayling. "But if you think a neighbour will react angrily, proceed with caution. We'd rather people got the council involved if they think their complaint could provoke a hostile reaction.

"If the noise continues, then we may ask people to keep a log sheet over a mutually agreed time period so we can determine the extent of the disturbance. Where necessary, an officer will visit to determine whether the noise represents a Statuary Nuisance even outside of office hours."

If they are satisfied that a Statuary Nuisance exists, a Noise Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) will be served on the person. Failure to comply with the notice is a criminal offence.

Weblinks:

www.midsuffolk.gov.uk for general information and practical advice about noise pollution.


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