Mar
17
2015

Pickles evidence on over-zealous noise enforcement flimsy

churchIn February EPUK, CIEH and the Noise Abatement Society wrote to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles with a Freedom of Information request,  asking for evidence to support his assertion implying that local authorities have been misusing their powers when enforcing noise laws. In a  statement made on 2nd February Mr Pickles was quoted as saying `In recent years, too many town halls have been over-zealous in trying to silence church bells and village clocks which have chimed for decades, if not centuries.’

The organisations  pointed out that the statement implied impropriety by local authority officers, requesting a list of the noise enforcement cases on which the statement was founded, alongside evidence in each case of whether the facts were verified by officials or reliance was simply placed on newspaper allegations. The Department for Communities and Local Government replied to the request, citing a couple of newspaper articles covering noise disputes as the evidence on which this statement based.  It is disappointing to say the least that a government department can cite such thin evidence as a basis on which to criticise a professional service that is working in the interests of maintaining the balance of  interests of all neighbours, enforcing the law and contributing to the health and wellbeing of communities.

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