low frequency noise nuisance

Low Frequency Noise Annoyance

One of our experts was appointed to investigate a low-frequency noise nuisance issue between two flat owners in central London and provide a report to assist the Court.

The noise complaints commenced almost a decade before instruction, and various independent acoustic consultants and the local authority were involved over this time. The complaints commenced following extensive refurbishment works at the flat located above the complainant’s flat.

The issue finally reached the Court, and the judge requested the appointment of acoustic experts to assist the Court.

Finch’s expert reviewed all the substantial evidence, visited the premises numerous times, interviewed the Claimant and other stakeholders and with his extensive expertise was able to unlock the issue in a comprehensive report, where it was concluded that based on the evidence, the complainant (the Claimant) was a low noise frequency sufferer, and therefore affected by noise that is not normally audible to the majority of the population.  Low-frequency noise, in the frequency range from about 10Hz to 200Hz, has been recognised as a special environmental noise problem, particularly to sensitive people in their homes. Health care systems worldwide face the prospect of nearly 40% of their population being over 65 by 2051 (and research has identified females over the age of 55 to be more susceptible to LFN).

The Defendant’s acoustic expert also agreed with this opinion and the joint report of the experts had a minimal number of points of disagreement. Heath v Brighton Corporation (1908) is an early case that highlights the effects of low-frequency noise on a sufferer and the law’s unwillingness to protect over-sensitive or unique sufferers of nuisance. The input by our expert was able to assist the Court accordingly in settling the decade long dispute.

Complaints of low-frequency noise are investigated under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and enforcement action is only viable if a local authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists. Consequently, a decision of ‘Not a nuisance’ is often made.