Attempting to Abate a Statutory Nuisance by Making More Noise is Unreasonable (High Court)

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In the case of Waltham Forest LBC v Mitoo (unreported), 26 May 2016, (Divisional Court) the High Court quashed the Magistrates decision that playing local music to drown out other noise was a reasonable excuse for not complying with a noise abatement notice under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Magistrates stated the burden fell on Waltham Forest LBC to prove that the building works had not contributed to such a level of noise that the respondent had to turn up the volume of his television, which was not proved. Therefore, the Magistrates found the respondent not guilty.

Waltham Forest LBC appealed the decision and the High Court concluded a person on whom a notice had been served was under a duty to comply. Playing music to drown out the sound of the building works could not contribute a reasonable excuse for not complying with the notice. The burden that the Magistrates found that Waltham Forest LBC failed to discharge, therefore, fell away.

The court remitted the case to a differently constituted Magistrates’ bench for retrial.

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