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Democracy, Environment

Scrutiny Commission recommends action on noisy neighbours

Lambeth Council should consider issuing more fines to noisy neighbours and draw up a map of the borough’s noise nuisance hotspots, a cross party group of councillors has urged.

The recommendations are just two ideas put forward by Lambeth’s Noise Nuisance Scrutiny Commission, following an investigation into the council’s Noise Service and how anti-social noise can affect Lambeth residents.

Complaints about anti-social noise are on the increase, with the council receiving 6,780 reports from residents of problem noise in 2009/10, compared to 5,174 the year before.

The Commission was therefore keen to explore whether improvements could be made to the way the council’s Noise and Pollution team operates, particularly in the context of the major financial cut backs affecting local government nationally.

The councillors met and went out with front line environmental health officers whose job it is to investigate complaints of noise, such as neighbours playing loud music in the middle of the night, repeated dog barking, or car and burglar alarms that continually go off. They work to stop the nuisance, either through mediation with those responsible, or through formal action such as issuing fines or taking the offender to court.

The councillors on the Commission also heard from a range of experts, as well as residents who had experience anti-social noise problems.

The Commission has made 32 recommendations to the council as to how it can improve its service to ensure residents’ quality of life is not blighted by anti-social noise, and to make sure the council works more effectively with other local bodies to tackle noise problems.

The full report and its recommendations can be viewed here:

http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=31236

The recommendations will be considered by the council’s Cabinet, which will consider whether to implement them by November.

Cllr Mark Bennett, Chair of the Noise Nuisance Scrutiny Commission, said: “Noise is an inescapable fact of life particularly in a modern, inner city borough like Lambeth, but while most people tolerate certain kinds of noise, anti-social noise caused by inconsiderate and even malicious neighbours can cause distress.

“In a time of financial constraints on local government services, The Commission wanted to consider how a robust level of Noise Service could be maintained within smaller budgets.

This report aims to do that, as well as making suggestions for improved efficiency and more effective communication of the service to residents.

“We are grateful for the input of residents, police, housing providers and a number of expert organisations.”

Editors’ notes:

To learn more about the council’s scrutiny service, and previous Scrutiny Commissions, visit: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/Scrutiny/AboutScrutiny.htm

Members of the Commission were Councillors Mark Bennett; Alex Davies; Alex Holland; Mike Smith and John Whelan.

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