Noise Nuisance - Dog Barking

Julie Nicholson made this Freedom of Information request to Kirklees Borough Council

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Dear Kirklees Borough Council

Please provide me with the following information regarding noise nuisance for dog barking:

For years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 please provide figures for the amount of Noise Complaints received for dog barking.

For each of the above years please provide a breakdown for:

1. No statutory nuisance found
2. Nuisance found, formal warning issued
3. Noise Abatement Notice issued

Of the Abatement Notices served how many have then gone on to the Magistrates Court?
Of these cases how many times have you used recordings of noise for evidence?
Of these cases how many times has a dog been removed from the property?

Please provide the guidance or applicable criteria used in the assessment
of the noise nuisance which shows the levels at which you would deem a statutory
nuisance to have arisen; for example frequency of occurrence - X times per
week/month/annum.

Please also provide the following uploaded to this website:
1) The council's procedure for investigating complaints of noise nuisance.
2) The council's procedure for audio recording of noise nuisance.
3) The council's procedure for providing evidence to those accused of noise nuisance.

Please provide names and post titles of officers serving Abatement Notices and how many Abatement Notices have they each served in years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

How many complaints have you received in the above years for those officers by name or post title (only if name cant be provided)

Please provide information regarding the amount of time given to rectify a noise nuisance on an Abatement Notice ie for dog barking it is 14 days :
1. Is this the same timespan for every instance of dog barking? If not why not and who decides the timespan?
2. What expert advice was sought to determine that 14 days was long enough to give an owner an opportunity to stop a dog barking
3. If no expert advice was sought what criteria was used to ascertain that 14 days was the right amount of time?
4. Were other Councils consulted to see what timespan they gave for this? If not why not?

Please provide information in timescale as defined in the FOI act.

Yours faithfully,

J Nicholson

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Ms Nicholson

I confirm receipt of your information request and that I am looking into this.

I will respond to you in due course.

Regards

Information Access Team
Legal, Governance & Monitoring
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

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Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Nicholson

 

I refer to your recent enquiry relating to the above which has been dealt
with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004

 

Please find below the Council’s response:

Please provide me with the following information regarding noise nuisance
for dog barking:

 

For years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 please provide figures for the
amount of Noise Complaints received for dog barking

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |No. of complaints |
|---------------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|2012 |647 |
|---------------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|2013 |735 |
|---------------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|2014 |713 |
|---------------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|2015 |635 |
|---------------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|2016 (to 23.11.16) |549 |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

 

For each of the above years please provide a breakdown for:

 

1. No statutory nuisance found

2. Nuisance found, formal warning issued

3. Noise Abatement Notice issued

 

We are unable to provide the breakdown of information requested
specifically for dog barking complaints.

 

Of the Abatement Notices served how many have then gone on to the
Magistrates Court?

Of these cases how many times have you used recordings of noise for
evidence?

Of these cases how many times has a dog been removed from the property?

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |No. of dog barking prosecutions |
|--------------------------+---------------------------------------------|
|2012 |1 |
|--------------------------+---------------------------------------------|
|2013 |3 |
|--------------------------+---------------------------------------------|
|2014 |0 |
|--------------------------+---------------------------------------------|
|2015 |2 |
|--------------------------+---------------------------------------------|
|2016 (to 23.11.16) |2 |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

None of the above prosecutions have been taken using noise recordings
only.

No dogs have been removed from the property.

 

Please provide the guidance or applicable criteria used in the assessment
of the noise nuisance which shows the levels at which you would deem a
statutory nuisance to have arisen; for example frequency of occurrence - X
times per week/month/annum.

 

There is no guidance that states what level or frequency of noise that
determines when a noise is statutory nuisance.  All the law states is that
noise from a premise can be a statutory nuisance.  We investigate each
complaint on a case by case basis to see if the person complaining is
affected and if what they are hearing is materially affecting their
enjoyment of their property and if what is causing the noise nuisance is
unreasonable and could be resolved by the person causing the problem. 
Officers are trained in the assessment of noise.

Each investigation and assessment is judged on its own merits depending on
individual circumstances.

 

Please also provide the following uploaded to this website:

1)             The council's procedure for investigating complaints of
noise nuisance.

             We attach the PNC Complaint Investigation Procedure

 

2)         The council's procedure for audio recording of noise nuisance.

             We attach PNC13 Matron Box

 

In addition to information in PNC13, recordings are usually listened to by
the investigating case officer.  The number listened to depends on the
number of recordings made as the recordings are listened to in real time. 
We ask that complainants keep a record of the incidents they have recorded
and rank the severity of the noise on their recording so we can listen to
the worse recordings first and make an assessment.

 

3)         The council's procedure for providing evidence to those accused
of noise nuisance

FOI requests can be made for information about individual’s case.  We will
offer to play recordings to sources of noise complaints if there is
evidence of a nuisance being caused.

 

Please provide names and post titles of officers serving Abatement Notices
and how many Abatement Notices have they each served in years 2012, 2013,
2014, 2015 and 2016.

Abatement Notices can be served by the following officers:

Technical Officers

Senior Technical Officers

Environmental Health Officers

Senior Environmental Health Officers

Team Managers

 

The names of individual officers in an organisation are exempt information
under this legislation.

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |No. of Abatement Notices |
|---------------------+--------------------------------------------------|
|2012 |124 |
|---------------------+--------------------------------------------------|
|2013 |147 |
|---------------------+--------------------------------------------------|
|2014 |99 |
|---------------------+--------------------------------------------------|
|2015 |126 |
|---------------------+--------------------------------------------------|
|2016 (to 23.11.16) |416 (number increased due to extra gas work) |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

How many complaints have you received in the above years for those
officers by name or post title (only if name can’t be provided)

 

+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Year |No. |Job titles of officers |
| |complaints | |
| |received |TM Team Manger |
| |about | |
| |officers. |SEHO Senior Environmental Health |
| | |Officer |
| | | |
| | |EHO Environmental Health Officer |
| | | |
| | |STO Senior Technical Officer |
| | | |
| | |TO Technical Officer |
|------------------+-------------+---------------------------------------|
|2012 (part year) |2 |1 SEHO, 1EHO |
|------------------+-------------+---------------------------------------|
|2013 |8 |2 SEHOs, 4EHOs, 1STO, 1TO |
|------------------+-------------+---------------------------------------|
|2014 |8 |1SEHO, 1EHO, 2STOs, 2TOs |
|------------------+-------------+---------------------------------------|
|2015 |2 |2TOs, |
|------------------+-------------+---------------------------------------|
|2016 (to 23.11.16)|3 |1 TM, 1SEHO, 1 TO |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------+

 

 

Please provide information regarding the amount of time given to rectify a
noise nuisance on an Abatement Notice ie for dog barking it is 14 days:

 

1.         Is this the same timespan for every instance of dog barking? 
If not why not and who decides the timespan?

         The timespan is decided on a case by case basis by the
investigating case officer and their line manager but is on average 14
days.

 

2.      What expert advice was sought to determine that 14 days was long
enough to give an owner an opportunity to stop a dog barking?

         The officers are trained officers and have over the years worked
with colleagues from other local authorities and with dog wardens to
enhance their knowledge. The number                of complaints dealt
with and resolved within this time scale provides evidence that the time
is reasonable. There is a balance to be made between allowing a reasonable
time for the noise to be resolved and the disturbance caused to the person
affected

 

3.         If no expert advice was sought what criteria was used to
ascertain that 14 days was the right amount of time?

         See above

 

4.         Were other Councils consulted to see what timespan they gave
for this?  If not why not?

         Kirklees Council is part of the West Yorkshire Group of
Authorities that regularly hold benchmarking, consistency and training
exercises.

 

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right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 40 working days of the date of receipt of the response
to your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring
Officer:  1st floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY.
Alternatively, you can send an email to:
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Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
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Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jenny Cartwright

Information Access Team

Legal, Governance & Monitoring

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

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