Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 18 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not consider Mrs X’s complaint about the Council’s decision to serve a noise abatement notice further. This is because it is unlikely further investigation would result in a different outcome for Mrs X.
- Mrs X complained the Council issued her local Town Council with a noise abatement notice to address noise caused by a skate ramp. She says removal of the ramp will damage the health and wellbeing of her child and other local children.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered all the information Mrs X provided. I have also considered the Council’s response to Mrs X’s complaint. I have written to Mrs X with my draft decision and considered her comments.
What I found
- The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires councils investigate noise which may be a statutory nuisance. Where noise causes, or likely to cause a statutory nuisance, councils must serve an abatement notice. The notice requires the person responsible to either stop or restrict the noise. If the person does not take action, they can be fined or prosecuted.
- In July 2019, the Council served the Town Council with a noise abatement notice. The notice related to noise from a skate ramp located in a park owned by the Town Council. The notice said the Town Council must prevent noise from the ramp as it was causing a nuisance to nearby residents.
- Mrs X disputes the skate ramp caused the noise. She believes children playing and anti-social behaviour taking place in the park were responsible. Mrs X says removing the skate ramp will not address the noise issues and will damage the health and wellbeing of local children.
- The recipient of a noise abatement notice has 21 days after receipt to file an appeal to the Magistrates Court. The Town Council did not file an appeal and later sought an extension until September 2019 to allow time to remove the ramp before the Council took enforcement action. The ramp is still in place.
- The Council investigated Mrs X’s complaint and was satisfied with its reasons for issuing the noise abatement notice. It confirmed it had notified the Town Council of the 21-day appeal time limit.
- The Ombudsman considers it is reasonable to have expected the Town Council to appeal the decision if it disagreed with the notice. It is unlikely further investigation would result in a different outcome to that of the Council.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely further investigation would lead to a different outcome.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman