One-off birthday celebrations, such as 21st or 60th birthday parties, are normally accepted as consequence of everyday life and behaviour. Local authorities are more likely to take action against people who have regular parties, celebrations that are not conducted in a reasonable manner and those that extend well beyond 11pm.
Loud music outside after 11pm is not usually a good idea, particularly where there are other residential properties nearby. Whilst the use of DJ’s and live bands are not restricted by legislation they will be more suited to functions rooms and commercial premises than to residential premises. Marquees will offer little in the way of sound insulation. Loud music, particularly at night, will have the potential to affect residents across a number of streets or neighbourhood. The size and scale of the party is also likely to have an effect on the impact on neighbours and the potential for public nuisance. Perpetrators who have been approached and who are uncooperative are also more likely to face enforcement action.
The legislation that can be used in these circumstances include Statutory Nuisance and Noise Act procedures. The Noise Act allows an officer to serve a warning notice on the person responsible for the noise and can be used between the hours of 11pm and 7am. If the noise continues after a warning notice has been served and exceeds the permitted noise level he may issue a fixed penalty notice. Whilst officers have powers to seize equipment in certain circumstances seizures are unlikely to be used on the night and are usually implemented as part of planned enforcement activity.
Some local authority night-time noise services are labelled as “Noisy Party Patrols” or “Out-of-hours Services”. In practice though they are mainly used to catch persistent or unreasonable offenders rather than monitor parties. They can often be used to report and provide a quick response to all forms of noise pollution.
Your local authority website should detail out of hours services which will often have a different contact number to the regular service. Once you have gone to your local authority website, search for services under “noise” or by using the A-Z links. In areas where local and County councils operate you should contact your local (i.e. District or Borough Council).
Raves and organised (but unlicensed) outdoor parties will have the potential to cause public nuisances. In these circumstances the Police may also have powers to break up problem parties and may be a useful alternative. The anti-social behaviour legislation may also be applicable.