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Innovative council cracks down on vehicle noise

Mendip Council : 19 May, 2008  (Company News)
During national noise action week, Mendip council co-operates with local police to reduce boy-racing, off road motorcycle use and other vehicle related noise issues.
Plans are underway for a summer crackdown on noisy vehicles in Mendip. The local Council announced the plan at the start of Noise Action Week (May 19 to 23), which is an annual event to raise the profile of local and national noise issues.

The council is working with Avon and Somerset Constabulary to consider a joint exercise later in the year which will target nuisance vehicles and related anti-social behaviour such as boy-racing.

Some of the nuisances that are expected to be targeted during the initiative will be off-road motorcycles being ridden on roads around Mendip, cars with excessively noisy exhausts and drivers who blast out their car stereos at the annoyance of local residents.

In fact a motorist caught playing a car stereo too loudly risks a £5,000 fine and having the equipment seized and destroyed.

Curtis Lakin, Mendip District Council's principal environmental health officer, said: "As a council we have a duty to investigate noise complaints. Once you have reported a complaint, a member of the environmental protection team will contact you to discuss the issue in more detail

"Some complaints can be dealt with on an informal basis, while others may require more investigation including some monitoring of the noise by officers from the council, who will then decide if it warrants further intervention.

"Vehicle related noise can be particularly difficult for the council to address under its own powers, however combining resources with the police can provide for a more effective way of tackling the nuisance."

PC Adam Brown, from the Frome, Safer, Stronger Neighbourhood Team, is working closely with the council and other police officers across Mendip on the initiative.

He said: "For many people noise can become a real nuisance, and unless they are resolved, they can create tension and friction between neighbours in communities across Mendip. As part of building safer, stronger neighbourhoods, we are committed to working with Mendip and other agencies to solve the problems and issues communities might have.

"One of the problem areas that both the police and council have identified is complaints linked to noisy vehicles, whether it is excessively noisy car exhausts or drivers playing their music too loud. Hopefully, this initiative will bring home the fact that we must all think about and be aware of the rest of our community when making noise."

Noise Action Week is an annual initiative coordinated by Environmental Protection UK (formerly NSCA), that aims to raise awareness of the problems caused by neighbour noise and the solutions available to tackle it.

The week aims to:.

* Promote practical solutions to everyday noise problems.
* Promote communication and consideration between neighbours.
* Encourage local authorities and mediation services to inform the public of services available.
* Educate and inform noise makers and noise sufferers about noise reduction.
* Encourage everyone to take a quiet moment to consider the noises they make and the noise that affects them - and what can be done to reduce the impact.

As part of its aim, the week also reaches out to primary school children across the country by providing schools with education packs. They can be downloaded from the noise action week web-site, or a limited number can be obtained from Mendip District Council directly.

The council also produces its own 'how to deal with neighbourhood noise' leaflet which provides useful information about the rules relating to noise, how it can be investigated and what the council can do to help you. This can be downloaded from Mendip council's web site.
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