Noisy neighbours face spot fines

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The Independent Online
Noisy neighbours face a pounds 40 on-the-spot fixed penalty if they refuse to comply with warnings to tone down night-time nuisance, under tough measures announced by the Government yesterday.

The creation of a new night-time noise offence - between 11pm and 7am, is part of a package designed to tackle and clarify ways of dealing with the problem in towns and cities.

Under the new provisions, the level of noise would have to exceed 35 decibels (and the background level by at least 10 decibels) when measured in a complainant's house, before action is taken.

The level of 35 decibels is equivalent to the amount of noise generated in a room with the television or radio on, with closed single-glazed windows, fronting a busy suburban street.

The new levels announced in a Commons written reply are designed to ensure that anyone whose peace and quiet in their own home is adversely affected can take action. Council environmental health officers, with police backing if necessary, would enforce the rules.

There will also be clarification of the rules regarding confiscation of equipment, which has been effective where it has been used. Some courts and local authorities have been unsure of when and how they can make this effective.

The measures are expected to be incorporated in the Noise Bill, due to be sponsored in the Commons by Harry Greenway, Tory MP for Ealing North, who came fifth in the recent ballot for backbench Bills.