Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Julian Lewis (Shadow Minister, Defence; New Forest East, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(1) what remedies are available to people disturbed by persistent amplified noise in public places made (a) in the cause of political protest and (b) for other reasons; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what his policy is on the prevention of disturbance to others by people persistently making amplified noise in public places without the permission of the relevant local authorities; and if he will make a statement.
Jonathan R Shaw (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Chatham and Aylesford, Labour)
Section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, provides that noise, other than traffic noise, emitted from vehicles, machinery or equipment in a street can be a statutory nuisance, if it does, has or is likely to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of a person's land or is prejudicial to their health. Local authorities have a duty to investigate complaints about statutory nuisances, and may serve abatement notices. Failure to comply with an abatement notice can be a criminal offence.
These provisions do not however apply to political demonstrations or a demonstration supporting or opposing a cause or campaign.
Section 62 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 bans the use of a loud speaker in a street at night (i.e. between 9 pm and 8 am), and restricts the use of loudspeakers for advertising at any time subject to limited exemptions.
Section 137 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 bans the use of loudspeakers in the area around Parliament at any time and for any purpose (subject to a number of exceptions—including where consent of local authority has been granted). The Government have however announced their intention to repeal these provisions.
There are in addition byelaws which govern the use of amplification equipment in certain areas such as Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Garden. There may be similar local byelaws in other parts of the country.