Transport and Noise in the Street
The Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 enables certain noises in the street to be dealt with in the same way as noise from premises - as a statutory nuisance. Traffic noise, noise made by military forces, or from campaigning demonstrations are excluded. The following are included:
Vehicles - noise emitted from a vehicle; caused by it or by car repairs, car radios, car alarms and parked refrigerator vehicles.
Loudspeakers - the use of loudspeakers in the streets is
banned between 9.00 pm and 8.00 am (the police, ambulance and fire brigade are
exempt). Local authorities can license use outside these hours - e.g. for
entertainment but not for advertising purposes or electioneering. Vehicles
selling perishable foods may use loudspeakers between 12.00 noon and 7.00 pm and
these times can be varied with local authority consent.
Ice cream van chimes -There are certain circumstances where the sounding of chimes on ice cream vans may cause a statutory nuisance however as they chime infrequently in the same area it is unlikely. It is possible that action can be taken under section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 if the chimes are sounded before 12 midday and after 7pm at night or at any time so as to cause annoyance.
So, what does the law say?
It is an offence to sound the chimes of ice cream vehicles before 12 noon or after 7.00 p.m. It is also an offence to sound chimes, or the audible warning horn of any vehicle at any time in such a way as to give reasonable cause for annoyance.
A Code of Practice approved by the government gives guidance on methods of
minimising annoyance from such vehicles, the main points of which are:
Do not sound chimes [or blow the horn]
a] for longer than four seconds at a time
b] more often than once every three minutes
c] when the vehicle is stationary
d] except on approach to a selling point
e] when in sight of another vehicle which is trading
f] when within 50 metres of schools, hospitals or places of worship
This is one of the most widespread sources of noise nuisance and unfortunately, the most difficult to control. Surveys show that 23% of the population are bothered by noise from road traffic. The noise made by vehicles is limited by The Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use Regulations) 1986. Vehicles must be fitted with an efficient exhaust silencer and there are general regulations requiring road users not to make excessive noise or run the engine unnecessarily when stationary.
Noise from motor horns is regulated by the Road Traffic Act 1972. Horns may not be sounded in a restricted road between 11.30 pm and 7.00 am and not by a stationary vehicle unless there is a danger to another moving vehicle. Private vehicles must not be fitted with a gong, bell, siren or two tone horn. Offenders should be reported to the Police on 101.
If you are being irritated by a noisy vehicle in the street, you can complain
to the police. The complaint must relate to individual vehicles, not the overall
noise level from a road. Remember that it is difficult to monitor the noise. If
you live on a busy road you may well suffer from traffic noise, even though no
regulations are being contravened. This may be due to poor planning or the sheer
volume of traffic. There is no easy solution to this problem; suggestions about
traffic control should be addressed to your local traffic authority (usually
county councils, but sometimes district councils).
This becomes the dominant source of noise for most people living near railways only at a relatively high level. If particular trains are causing a problem, complaints should be addressed to the company operating the train in question. If you are not sure which company covers your district contact- Railtrack Community Relations Tel: 08457 114141
For more information on noise from road, rail or air, visit the Department for Transport website.
Last updated: 19/05/2011
Pages in Noise Nuisance
- 1. What can I do if I am suffering a noise problem?
- 2. Reporting a Noise Nuisance
- 3. How we investigate Noise Complaints
- 4. Taking your own action and alternatives to legal action
- 5. Burglar Alarms
- 6. You are here: Transport and Noise in the Street