Number of complaints received for the following categories a) VIBRATION and b) LOW FREQUENCY NOISE (Tonal)

The request was partially successful.

Ms Jennie Hester

Dear Abingdon Town Council,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please could you provide the following information for the last full year for which records are kept; the number of complaints received for the following categories (or your equivalent):
a) Vibration
b) Low Frequency Noise (Tonal)
For each of the above categories, please provide a breakdown for:
1. No statutory nuisance found
2. Nuisance found, formal warning issued
3. Noise Abatement Notice issued
Please provide the guidance or applicable criteria used in the assessment of the above which shows the levels at which you would deem a statutory nuisance to have arisen.
Please could you provide any documentation held for noise abatement notices served for the above which include pumps, boilers or fans and redacting any information deemed necessary by the council.
In addition I would be grateful if you could provide information on what action your authority can take to abate a nuisance where a complaint of statutory nuisance has been made; and found to be true when the nuisance arises from mechanical noise but the property in question belongs to the council or forms part of the housing stock owned or managed by the council. Please provide the relevant guidance or assessments used in such instances.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Jennie Hester

FOI Vale,

Dear Ms Hester

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which was received by
the Vale of White Horse District Council on 14 July 2011. This was
forwarded to us from Abingdon Town Council as they do not have
responsibility for noise complaints.

Please accept this email as confirmation that your request has been
received and forwarded to the relevant department and that a response will
be sent to you within 20 working days. The reference number for this
request is 10/71.

I trust that this email is sufficient to assure you that your request is
being dealt with. However, should you have any queries in the meantime,
please do not hesitate to contact the FOI team at
[1][email address] .

Regards

FOI Team
Vale of White Horse District Council

Under the Freedom of Information Act, please could you provide the
following information for the last full year for which records are
kept; the number of complaints received for the following
categories (or your equivalent):
a) Vibration
b) Low Frequency Noise (Tonal)
For each of the above categories, please provide a breakdown for:
1. No statutory nuisance found
2. Nuisance found, formal warning issued
3. Noise Abatement Notice issued
Please provide the guidance or applicable criteria used in the
assessment of the above which shows the levels at which you would
deem a statutory nuisance to have arisen.
Please could you provide any documentation held for noise abatement
notices served for the above which include pumps, boilers or fans
and redacting any information deemed necessary by the council.
In addition I would be grateful if you could provide information on
what action your authority can take to abate a nuisance where a
complaint of statutory nuisance has been made; and found to be true
when the nuisance arises from mechanical noise but the property in
question belongs to the council or forms part of the housing stock
owned or managed by the council. Please provide the relevant
guidance or assessments used in such instances.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Jennie Hester

show quoted sections

References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Ms Hester,

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request which you
originally sent to Abingdon Town Council on 13 June 2011 who then
forwarded it to Vale of White Horse District Council on 14 June 2011. The
reference number for your request is 11/71.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption from
the obligation to comply with requests for information where the cost of
compliance is estimated to exceed the appropriate limit. The Fees
Regulations state that this limit is £450 for public authorities.

We do hold this information however we have estimated that it would take
24 hours to locate, retrieve and extract the information you require which
is above the appropriate limit of £450 (18 hours X £25). In this case,
we have calculated the fee as £600 (24 hours X £25 per hour) and this is
the amount the council will seek to charge you for supplying
this information.

Should you wish to narrow your request this may reduce the time it will
take us to provide you with the information. An example would be to limit
your request to exclude certain categories of premises (such as domestic)
or to focus on one specific type of premises (such as industrial).

Please confirm how you would like us to proceed with your request, as it
is now on hold awaiting your instruction.

Kind regards,

Penny

Penny O'Callaghan
Shared Risk and Information Officer

HR, IT and Customer Services
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
Direct phone: 01491 823030
Email: [1]penny.o'[email address]

Visit us at:
[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk
[3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

show quoted sections

PLEASE HELP US TO REDUCE WASTE BY ONLY PRINTING THIS EMAIL IF IT IS
ABSOLUTELY
NECESSARY.

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References

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1. mailto:penny.o'[email address]
2. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
3. http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/
4. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
5. http://www.blackspider.com/

Ms Jennie Hester

Dear Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Penny,

Thank you for your quick reply to my FOI request and for confirming your estimated cost of £600 for the provision of the information. I agree that the FOI Act places a limit of £450 for requests.

I am of the opinion that much if not all of the information will be held electronically and your estimate of the time taken is unreasonable and excessive. I believe there has been guidance issued on this by the Information Commissioners Office.

Please may I trouble you to have a look at this again and see your estimates are correct. It may also be that some of the information is in the public domain although I am not aware of this.

It may help in these circumstances for you to clarify what information you hold, what is held electronically and what is already in the public domain so that if I need to I can narrow the scope of the request.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Jennie Hester

Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Ms Hester,

Thank you for your email and I will investigate this further with my
colleagues to ascertain what information is already in the public domain.

I believe that we do hold the information however it is not recorded in a
way which facilitates prompt locating and retrieval. To explain this
further, noise complaints are categorised (and recorded) by the type of
property they originate from e.g. domestic rather than by the nature of
the noise. In order to identify the information you require, we will need
to screen all complaints to first determine the nature of the complaint
and then we would need to undertake further screening to identify which of
those complaints relate to vibration and low frequency noise.

I hope the above goes some way to explain the rationale behind our
estimated costs.

Kind regards,

Penny

Penny O'Callaghan
Shared Risk and Information Officer

HR, IT and Customer Services
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
Direct phone: 01491 823030
Email: [1]penny.o'[email address]

Visit us at:
[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk
[3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

>>> Ms Jennie Hester <[FOI #75460 email]>
18/06/2011 13:53 >>>
Dear Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Penny,

Thank you for your quick reply to my FOI request and for confirming
your estimated cost of £600 for the provision of the information. I
agree that the FOI Act places a limit of £450 for requests.

I am of the opinion that much if not all of the information will be
held electronically and your estimate of the time taken is
unreasonable and excessive. I believe there has been guidance
issued on this by the Information Commissioners Office.

Please may I trouble you to have a look at this again and see your
estimates are correct. It may also be that some of the information
is in the public domain although I am not aware of this.

It may help in these circumstances for you to clarify what
information you hold, what is held electronically and what is
already in the public domain so that if I need to I can narrow the
scope of the request.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Jennie Hester

show quoted sections

Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Ms Hester,

Following on from my email of yesterday, I have checked with my colleagues
as to what information is already in the public domain.

As actual complaint records themselves contain personal data which is
subject to the Data Protection Act, we don't publish complaints on our
website. However we can readily provide broad summaries of complaint
numbers broken down by premises type should you require this information.

Kind regards,

Penny

Penny O'Callaghan
Shared Risk and Information Officer

HR, IT and Customer Services
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
Direct phone: 01491 823030
Email: [1]penny.o'[email address]

Visit us at:
[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk
[3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

show quoted sections

PLEASE HELP US TO REDUCE WASTE BY ONLY PRINTING THIS EMAIL IF IT IS
ABSOLUTELY
NECESSARY.

This message has been scanned for viruses by [5]BlackSpider MailControl

References

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1. mailto:penny.o'[email address]
2. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
3. http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/
4. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
5. http://www.blackspider.com/

Ms Jennie Hester

Dear Penny O'Callaghan,

Thank you for your email in response to my FOI request. It is potentially possible that such information would also be covered by the EIR Act. You are requested to apply the EIR regulations to my request . I am of the opinion that low frequency noise and vibration are covered under the Environmental Health Act 1990. As such any information held is likely to fall under the EIR Act. EIR is covered within the FOI Act and I would refer you to the following guidance provided by the ICO in terms of charges applicable to the EIR Act:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

The relevant section is detailed below:
.
When dealing with requests for information under EIR, public authorities are permitted to charge a reasonable amount. Charging
for environmental information clearly states that where charges are applied, they must only cover actual costs incurred by the public
authority in producing the information, for example the cost of paper, printing and postage. Unlike the charging regime for freedom
of information requests, public authorities dealing with an EIR request cannot charge for the amount of time taken to identify,
locate and retrieve information, which may be done when the appropriate limit has been exceeded.

For the purposes of a legitimate request an email address is sufficient and this has been held by the ICO.
You are requested to treat my request under both the FOI and EIR Acts, review the information held, identify which information falls within which act and provide this accordingly.

Accordingly I would be grateful if you could provide the information in an electronic format and to my email address which
negates the needs paper, printing, or postage.

I am of the opinion that as the information held will fall under both acts, be held electronically and this information be forwarded to me by way of email that it will fall within the scope of my request and without charge.

We may carry on discussing this further but I feel that there has been sufficient delay and I would ask you to make a formal reply in the context of this email, provide the information you deem to be appropriate within the limit of £450 and provide exceptions for the information withheld.

Upon receipt of your reply I will should it be appropriate refer this to the ICO under section 50 of the FOI act with details of previous decisions by the ICO of matters relating to environmental information.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Jennie Hester

Penny O'Callaghan,

Dear Ms Hester,

Please accept this email as confirmation that we are dealing with your
request and in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and the
Environmental Information Regulations, we will provide you with a response
within 20 working days.

Kind regards,

Penny

Penny O'Callaghan
Shared Risk and Information Officer

HR, IT and Customer Services
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
Direct phone: 01491 823030
Email: [1]penny.o'[email address]

Visit us at:
[2]www.southoxon.gov.uk
[3]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

>>> Ms Jennie Hester <[FOI #75460 email]>
27/06/2011 10:25 >>>
Dear Penny O'Callaghan,

Thank you for your email in response to my FOI request. It is
potentially possible that such information would also be covered by
the EIR Act. You are requested to apply the EIR regulations to my
request . I am of the opinion that low frequency noise and
vibration are covered under the Environmental Health Act 1990. As
such any information held is likely to fall under the EIR Act. EIR
is covered within the FOI Act and I would refer you to the
following guidance provided by the ICO in terms of charges
applicable to the EIR Act:

[4]http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/...

The relevant section is detailed below:
.
When dealing with requests for information under EIR, public
authorities are permitted to charge a reasonable amount. Charging
for environmental information clearly states that where charges are
applied, they must only cover actual costs incurred by the public
authority in producing the information, for example the cost of
paper, printing and postage. Unlike the charging regime for freedom
of information requests, public authorities dealing with an EIR
request cannot charge for the amount of time taken to identify,
locate and retrieve information, which may be done when the
appropriate limit has been exceeded.

For the purposes of a legitimate request an email address is
sufficient and this has been held by the ICO.
You are requested to treat my request under both the FOI and EIR
Acts, review the information held, identify which information falls
within which act and provide this accordingly.

Accordingly I would be grateful if you could provide the
information in an electronic format and to my email address which
negates the needs paper, printing, or postage.

I am of the opinion that as the information held will fall under
both acts, be held electronically and this information be forwarded
to me by way of email that it will fall within the scope of my
request and without charge.

We may carry on discussing this further but I feel that there has
been sufficient delay and I would ask you to make a formal reply in
the context of this email, provide the information you deem to be
appropriate within the limit of £450 and provide exceptions for the
information withheld.

Upon receipt of your reply I will should it be appropriate refer
this to the ICO under section 50 of the FOI act with details of
previous decisions by the ICO of matters relating to environmental
information.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Jennie Hester

show quoted sections

Penny O'Callaghan,

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Hester,

Further to my email of 29 June, please find my additional response
below:

As previously stated, noise complaint records are not categorised by
the nature of the noise itself but by the type of property they originate
from. I can confirm that they are held electronically however, we would
still need to screen each record to identify the nature of the complaint
and then conduct further screening to determine which of those complaints
relate to vibration and low frequency noise.

Please see our website for further details of our charging schemes for
Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations requests:
[1]http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/about-us/...

The information we can provide relates to general noise complaints:
Between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011, the Environmental Protection Team
received 1064 complaints, of which 458 related to noise.
In 22 cases, we were able to establish the existence of a statutory
nuisance and in all of these cases, we served Abatement Notices.
Please note that except in very specific circumstances, the council is
required by law to serve an Abatement Notice where we are satisfied that a
nuisance exists.
One of the above cases related to fan noise and please find a copy of the
notice attached.

We do not have a formalised procedure for dealing with complaints arising
from council owned or managed property (and please note we do not have any
housing stock). The council cannot serve an Abatement Notice on itself
but as there is a potential liability (such as local residents can
complain directly to the magistrate's court and apply for an order
requiring abatement of a nuisance), such matters are dealt with by liaison
between the Environmental Protection Team and the responsible department.

I trust the above information is acceptable and please do not hesitate to
contact me should you have any further questions relating to your request.

Kind regards,

Penny

Penny O'Callaghan
Shared Risk and Information Officer

HR, IT and Customer Services
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
Direct phone: 01491 823030
Email: [2]penny.o'[email address]

Visit us at:
[3]www.southoxon.gov.uk
[4]www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk

show quoted sections

PLEASE HELP US TO REDUCE WASTE BY ONLY PRINTING THIS EMAIL IF IT IS
ABSOLUTELY
NECESSARY.

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References

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2. mailto:penny.o'[email address]
3. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
4. http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/
5. http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/
6. http://www.blackspider.com/

Dear Penny O'Callaghan,

Thankyou for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Ms Jennie Hester

Nigel Warner, Town Clerk, Abingdon Town Council

Dear Ms Hester

I write further to your request fir information in relation to noise complaints received by this Council, the request having been made under the Freedom of Information Act.

My colleague did at the time forwarded your request to the Vale of White Horse District Council. This was because the Town Council was not responsible for dealing with noise complaints and so did not hold the information which you were asking about. In Abingdon the District Council are the responsible authority. The District Council responded to you but I note from the "What Do They Know" website that the enquiry to this Council shows as being outstanding. Consequently I have now responded as above, in order to close the matter.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Warner
Town Clerk

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