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Environment

Vehicles, Machinery and Equipment in the Street

Vehicles, machinery or equipment that sound continuously for long periods of time or intermittently can cause annoyance to nearby persons.   Such sources of noise may include car alarms, refrigeration vehicles, or noisy car repairs. The Environmental Protection Team will investigate whether the noise created by the vehicle, machinery or equipment is a statutory noise nuisance. Upon confirmation of a nuisance an Abatement Notice will be served and a time period allowed for the owner to silence the source of the noise. Should the noise not be silenced action can be taken by the Department to undertake works in default to remedy the situation.   For example, such action may include gaining access into the vehicle to silence the alarm, or in some cases the vehicle can be removed.

Should you own a vehicle with an alarm, you should ensure that the alarm cuts out after a 5 minute period.  This is a requirement of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. The Police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforce this legislation and may prosecute if an alarm does not comply.

If you require our help please contact us.

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • The address where the vehicle is parked and whether it is on the street or on a driveway.
  • A description of the type of vehicle, machinery or equipment (including make of vehicle, model, registration number and colour)
  • Whether the vehicle has been vandalised
  • Whether this problem is a single event, or occurs regularly
  • When the problems started, or, if a regular occurrence, typical problems times
  • The nature of the problems which the vehicle, machinery or equipment is causing

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again about this matter.

Action we will take:

The type of noise sources included within vehicles, machinery and equipment include:

  • Musical instruments
  • Car alarms
  • Stationary vehicles with engines idling
  • Refrigerator units operating
  • Hydraulic tail lifts
  • Skip loading equipment
  • Goods deliveries
  • DIY car repairs
  • Professional car repairs in the street
  • Any industrial or work activities spilling out into the street
  • All building, engineering, and demolition works in the streets arising from the use of compressors, generators and pumps left unattended
  • Buskers and street musicians using instruments irrespective of whether or not electrically powered, ghetto blasters
  • Street parties and informal gatherings where amplification equipment is used
  • Audio systems in stationary vehicles

It excludes:

  • Traffic noise
  • Noise made by military forces
  • Action is normally taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisances Act 1993. Upon receipt of a complaint Officers will visit to determine whether the noise created from the vehicle, machinery or equipment is causing a statutory nuisance. Should the Officer confirm that the noise is a statutory nuisance then an Abatement Notice will be served. The law then requires that a reasonable time period of at least one hour is given for the owner of the vehicle, machinery or equipment to silence it.
  • Officers will always make reasonable attempts to trace and contact the registered keeper of a vehicle and request that action is taken to silence the source of the noise and remedy the complaint.
  • Should the noise continue to sound, action can be taken by the Department to undertake works in default to remedy the situation. Such action may,for example, include obtaining access into the vehicle to silence the alarm, or in some cases the vehicle or equipment can be removed. All costs incurred in undertaking any works in default will be recharged to the owner of the vehicle.

Our Advice

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 require that a five minute cut-out device is fitted to all vehicle alarms. The Police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforce this legislation and may prosecute if an alarm does not comply. Ensure that your alarm is designed to cut out after 5 minutes.

Ensure that when you leave your vehicle that is locked and all the doors and windows are properly closed so that the alarm will not be inadvertently operated.

For other equipment to be used within the street, ensure that it is located as far away from residential properties as practicable and source equipment that is appropriately silenced.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a car alarm sounds and the owner cannot be contacted?
All reasonable attempts will be made to identify and contact the owner or a vehicle or persons that hold the keys to a vehicle, however if they cannot be traced or contacted and officers confirm that the noise from the alarm is a nuisance, action can be taken to silence the alarm.

What if my car is broken into and that is why the alarm is sounding?
Should Officers believe that the vehicle has been broken into or there is evidence that attempts to break in have been made, then the Police will be contacted in respect of this. However the alarm should still only sound for a maximum of 5 minutes. Should the alarm continue to sound then the Council has a duty to investigate the matter and the appropriate action will be taken.

If my car or equipment is removed as a way of resolving the noise complaint, where will it be taken and how can I get it back?
Should any vehicle be removed, the registered keeper of the vehicle will be notified in writing that the vehicle has been removed and details will be provided as to whom to contact to arrange to collect the vehicle. You will be responsible for all costs incurred by the Council for the removal and storage of the vehicle.

What happens if there is a noisy generator outside my house because of roadwork’s?
All sources of vehicles machinery and equipment can be investigated to determine if the noise they create is a statutory nuisance. There are always occasions where temporary works or emergency works are required, during such time Officers would attempt to determine the nature and duration of the works and ensure that the equipment used was suitably silenced. 

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