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Residents Blighted by Noise Nuisance Granted High Court Abatement Order

If the tranquillity of your home is blighted by noise or any other form of nuisance, you don't have to just grin and bear it. In a case on point, the High Court came to the aid of residents who said that their lives were rendered a sleepless purgatory by the noisy operation of a nearby games area and skate park.

Three residents sought an abatement order under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the basis that the activities carried on at the public facilities amounted to a statutory nuisance. Their application was, however, resisted by the local authority and rejected by a district judge.

In overturning that decision, the Court found that the judge had drawn a false distinction between noise generated by the intended use of the facilities and noise arising from their anti-social use, such as the playing of loud music. Both were relevant to the question of whether a nuisance had arisen.

Allegations that anti-social activities had rendered residents hypersensitive to the noise were, the Court found, no answer to their application if the noise was such that a person of normal resilience would have considered it unreasonable.

At a further hearing, the residents contended that an order should be made requiring removal of all the facilities' equipment and the grassing over of relevant areas. The Court, however, noted the judge's clear view that not all noise emanating from the facilities amounted to a nuisance. In issuing an abatement notice in general terms, the Court hoped that a spirit of compromise would prevail on all sides.