Coronavirus: Pollution Control (Noise & Air Pollution)
Under The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 as amended, every one of us are required by law to stay at home, unless there is a “reasonable excuse” as explained in the regulations.
Shared Regulatory Services and the Police are authorised to take action for any contravention of these regulations. Relevant guidance on the current lockdown can be found here.
The reduction in everyone’s movements has also reduced the amount of traffic on our roads and a reduced public transport service. Background noise levels have dropped and you may find you are noticing new sounds in your neighbourhood.
You may also notice your neighbour’s activities are more prominent than previously. Ask yourself, is the noise you are hearing really unreasonable or is it that people are just making the best of their time in the lockdown?
Clearly this is a difficult time for everyone but especially those in our communities that are considered most vulnerable such as the elderly and those with specific health conditions.
The vulnerable are advised to “self-isolate” or “shield” to reduce their risk of contacting the virus. This means the vulnerable may be on their own and not leaving their homes at all. If you receive a letter from us regarding a complaint about alleged noise, smoke or pollution nuisance arising from your premises, please take a moment to consider your activities, especially if you now have children at home or you decide to undertake DIY to make good use of your time at home.
Think about your neighbours and who may already be anxious with the current “lockdown” and that they may have to endure the noise or other pollution from your activities. Also you should be aware that Shared Regulatory Services can take enforcement action for a statutory nuisance caused under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. We are not trying to restrict your activities further but are asking you to consider the impact of your activities might have on your neighbours.
Some useful suggestions:
• Phone your neighbours to see how they are coping with the lockdown and whether you can help them by offering to carry out essential shopping or picking up medicine (only if you are not considered vulnerable or not suffering from symptoms of the Coronavirus as per the guidance). You may not have spoken to them before but they are likely to be really grateful for your contact. Get to know your neighbours. You never know, you might even need them if you and your household become unwell.
• Let your neighbours know if you intend to undertake some noisy DIY work and how long the work may take. They would really appreciate knowing that you are considering their feelings at this difficult time and may not feel so lonely. They are much more likely to be tolerant of any noise you are making if you tell them in advance. Make sure you don’t undertake noisy works early in the morning or late at night or for a prolonged period of time.
• It’s not expected that you are completely silent but consider the volume of any music or TV and possible impact on neighbours.
• If you are lucky enough to have a garden, please try consider the noise you create whilst in your garden.
• If there are several people in your household noise levels may raise without you realising so consider how this may be perceived by others.
• Bring members of your family indoors at a reasonable hour.
• If you live in a flat then you need to be particularly mindful of the impact of your activities on others especially if you know sound insulation is poor in the building.
• Certain waste collections have been reduced or temporarily stopped. But please do not burn your waste. The coronavirus is an acute respiratory syndrome that means it effects the ability to breathe. It is likely that there are people in your community that are considered vulnerable and therefore are either elderly or have some sort of existing condition including existing breathing difficulties. Burning waste is likely to make these people suffer even more and it could be causing a statutory nuisance as well as impacting the health of others. If you arrange for waste to be removed by a business then please use a Licensed Waste carrier.
• If you are disturbed by neighbours that you think are inviting people from other households to visit please let us or South Wales Police know.
This is an unprecedented time, tolerance levels of residents are likely to be tested. Please be considerate of others in your neighbourhood. We are in this together. If you have any further queries or wish to make a complaint about someone causing a nuisance you can submit your complaint
It is important that we all do our bit to “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save lives”.
Please visit the Pollution Control pages of our website for further information about our teams and the work we do.