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Legislation on noise pollution

…what are the laws that deal with noise pollution ?

The UK does not have a consolidated body of legislation on noise pollution. Here are some selected pieces of legislation that deal with noise pollution. Please note that the list is not exhaustive.

  • The Land Compensation Act 1973 and the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975 and 1996- allows for grants for the cost of sound insulation in premises subjected to noise from new or upgraded roads or railways which result in excessive noise levels beyond stated thresholds.
  • The Environment Protection Act 1990 (EPA). Part III treats noise as a statutory nuisance. By virtue of the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, Part III extends to noise nuisance from vehicles (e.g. car alarms but not traffic noise), machinery and other equipment such as loudspeakers, in the street
  • The Control of Pollution Act 1974 (COPA). Part III provides legislative controls for construction site noise and certain levels of street noise.
  • The Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993. Contains amendments to the EPA and COPA and also deals with noise from vehicles, burglar alarms and street equipment.
  • The Noise Act 1996 – This criminalises certain forms of night time noise and gives local councils power to confiscate certain kinds of noise-making equipment.
  • The Housing Act 1996 and the Crime and disorder Act 1998- Both Acts tackle anti-social behaviour including excessive noise.
  • The Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999- provides local authorities and the Environment Agency with powers to control emissions from industrial processes including noise emissions.
  • The Building Regulations 2000- regulates building development by requiring that construction meets certain standards, including sound insulation standards
  • The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001-amends the Licensing Act of 1964 and gives the police summary powers to close a licensed premises that is causing excessive noise.
  • Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003- provides powers to close down noisy premises if they cause a public nuisance.
  • Firework Act 2003 and Fireworks Regulations 2004-provides controls on the use of fireworks, especially in public places. These include an outright ban on the use of powerful fireworks by unauthorised persons and on-the-spot fines for anyone using fireworks during anti-social hours (11pm to 7am). Under-18s are also banned from possessing or using most fireworks in public places or at anti-social hours.
  • The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (CNEA) amends the Noise Act 1996 and grants local authorities with powers to investigate complaints from residents about excessive night noise coming from licensed or residential permits


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