Warning note sounded with noise nuisance ruling

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10 June 2011

A ruling in March this year on noise nuisance has sounded a warning bell for landowners and businesses where noisy activities and unhappy neighbours could be an issue.

The High Court found in favour of two Suffolk residents claiming that the operators of a stadium and track used for speedway racing and banger racing created a noise nuisance. The Court granted an injunction against the operators limiting the noise that could be emitted from the racing venues and awarded damages for the historic impact. 

The case is the latest in a line of successful actions against motor sport operators and is of particular interest as the claimants claimed against the landlord as well as the tenants, and the operators’ claim to a prescriptive right to emit noise was dismissed. In the first instance, the claim against the landlord was dismissed, as it was held that a landlord cannot be liable in nuisance for acts of his tenant where premises, which are not themselves a nuisance, are let for a purpose which can be achieved without a nuisance, but the tenant chooses so to use a demised premises as to create a nuisance.

Businesses whose operations generate noise need to be aware that neighbouring businesses and local residents are increasingly looking towards the Courts to protect them from what they perceive to be excessively noisy activities in their neighbourhoods. If successful, the injunctions awarded by the Courts can severely curtail the activities of the business and may shut it down altogether. 

Landowners and businesses who receive complaints should engage with the complainant and take steps at an early stage to address their concerns to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.

For further information contact Michael Barlow or Simon Tilling on (0117) 939 2285 or email michael.barlow@burges-salmon.com or simon.tilling@burges-salmon.com

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