How will my noise complaint be investigated
There will always be some degree of pollution in the environment. To be considered a nuisance, pollution must materially interfere with your well-being, your comfort or the enjoyment of your property. When investigating a complaint an Officer must determine how severe the pollution is. This assessment will take into account your location, the type of pollution you are experiencing, its’ duration, the time of its’ occurrence and the frequency with which it occurs.
Procedure for Investigation by Officers
On receipt the complaint is passed to an officer in the Environmental Protection Team for preliminary investigation. The officer will, initially, adopt an informal approach contacting the person responsible and advising them of the complaint. Many complaints are resolved at this stage since often the person responsible for the pollution may be unaware that this is affecting their neighbours. Moreover, this approach often improves situations that could not strictly be dealt with under current legislation.
At this time the officer will issue you with a “Time and Event” record sheet in order that you can keep a diary of the disturbance you experience – when it occurs, for how long and the impact it has upon you. This record is important both in assisting the officer to establish the existence of a nuisance and for use as evidence in the event of further action being taken.
Where the problem persists and a subsequent complaint is received then a formal approach will be adopted. The officer will attempt to witness the pollution and substantiate whether it constitutes an actionable nuisance. In some cases difficulties are encountered in witnessing the pollution incident, especially where it occurs intermittently or outside normal office hours. In such cases the officer will issue you with an “out of hours” telephone number which should be used to contact the officer when the pollution incident occurs. Additionally if you are complaining about noise recording and monitoring equipment may be installed in your property.
When the officer witnesses the pollution incident they will assess it to determine whether it constitutes an actionable statutory nuisance or whether further investigation is necessary. If the officer substantiates the existence of a statutory nuisance then this authority will endeavour to secure its abatement through the service of an abatement notice which formally requires the person to abate the pollution and prevent its recurrence.
Should the requirements of the notice not be met then consideration will be given to instigating legal proceedings.
It should be noted that situations occasionally arise whereby an officer is unable to establish the existence of a statutory nuisance. If, after reasonable investigation by the officer, this is found to be the case theys/he will advise you of how you may proceed with the matter as an individual aggrieved by an alleged nuisance.
On receipt of the complaint, an investigation will be initiated within 48 hours. The person making the complaint should be notified within 5 days of the initial investigation.
Where a nuisance is substantiated, a notice will be served within 2 working days.
Complaints about our Service
Whilst officer’s always endeavour to provide the best possible level of service it is acknowledged that occasions may arise where a complainant is dissatisfied with the service provided.
If you are not satisfied with the action taken by the authority or if you feel that your complaint has not been fully investigated, please put your complaint in writing, addressed to:
Head of Public Protection and Development Management
South Northamptonshire Council