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How do we investigate noise/nuisance?

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  1. The complainant will be asked to complete our complaint of nuisance form  When received a officer will normally contact the occupier of the premises complained of to make them aware that a problem (although not confirmed) may exist and giving them the opportunity to take action if necessary.  In urgent cases, an investigation may be commenced prior to receipt of the completed complaint form.

    The identity of the complainant will not be disclosed without prior agreement.  However, should formal enforcement action be required, you may be called as a witness.

  2. The complainant will normally be asked to keep a nuisance diary (PDF) [63KB] of noise events and these will be provided
  3. The Council can only take formal action if the nuisance complained of can be witnessed, either during a visit to the complainant's home or, under certain circumstances, by recording equipment left there.  If the nuisance regularly happens during the normal working day, the complainant may be asked to contact the nominated case officer so that, if available, they can visit immediately
  4. When the nuisance occurs only or mainly outside normal office hours, then visits can be made by prior arrangements at times when it is most likely that the nuisance can be witnessed.  The Council does not operate an out-of-hours 'call out' service
  5. The law requires the Council to take such steps "as are reasonably practicable" to investigate nuisance complaints.  As resources for investigation are limited, Torridge District Council's policy is that THREE ASSESSMENT VISITS are normally the maximum which can be expected and that this number represents a proper discharge of its duties in respect of statutory nuisance investigations
  6. If within the three visits evidence of a problem that may amount to a statutory nuisance is obtained, further action will be taken by the case officer on the complainant's behalf.  The type of action will depend upon the circumstances, but may include a written warning or the service of an Abatement Notice on those responsible for the problem.  Failure to comply with an Abatement Notice is an offence which may result in a fine of up to £5,000 for domestic premises and £20,000 for commercial premises
  7. In cases where:
  • no nuisance has occurred during any of the three visits, or
  • a problem has been witnessed, but, in the opinion of the Council officer, it does not amount to a statutory nuisance, the investigation will normally be discontinued and the complainant informed accordingly.

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