Law set to fine noisy neighbours

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Noisy neighbours face on-the-spot fines and confiscation of their amplifiers and speakers under a private member's Bill given an unopposed second reading in the Commons yesterday.

Complaints about noise from homes had trebled between 1983 and 1993, and inconsiderate neighbours were the cause of extreme distress, MPs were told. More than 20 people have died as a result of noise disputes with neighbours since 1992, and only this week the Old Bailey heard how a heavy rock fan stabbed to death a neighbour who complained about the volume of his Led Zeppelin music.

The new law will cover noise between 11pm and 7am, and would cost councils pounds 1m to pounds 3m a year to implement, the Government said. Labour, however, maintained this was a "gross under-estimate".