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BBC NI Environment Correspondent, Mike McKimm
"Most complaints are about loud music"
 real 28k

Saturday, 25 December, 1999, 13:48 GMT
New laws target noisy neighbours

Acting on complaints about noisy neighbourhoods.


Party revellers turning up the volume over the Christmas and New Year period will be targeted under new legislation adopted by Belfast City Council.

Staff from the council will be out with special meters throughout Belfast, responding to complaints about possible breaches of the Noise Act.

Belfast Council is only one of a dozen local authorities throughout the UK to adopt the act which sets a limit on the levels of noise allowable in urban areas.

New powers will allow inspectors to react to complaints and if the volume exceeds specific levels, they will serve a notice requiring a reduction of noise.

The council will also be empowered to impose fines and confiscate equipment under the by-laws.


Inspectors will be armed with special noise meters
Council spokesman Ivan Gregg welcomed the new legislation which empowers officials to act on the 1,000 complaints about noise received in Belfast annually.

"We've got increased powers now to deal with noise compliance," he said.

"Secondly, it means the council is going to establish an out-of-hours service.

"What that means really is that we will have staff available during late evening and early night time to respond to complaints.

"It's rather unusual for us to be actually saying that we want people to complain."

Apart from loud music at parties, other possible sources of disturbances include loud household or garden appliances such as lawnmowers or drills and domestic arguments.

While the noise inspectors run the risk of being called Christmas and millennium party-poopers, the service seems to be here to stay.

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