Noise from misfiring intruder alarms are a common cause of complaint to the council. If you have an intruder alarm fitted in your home or business, this information tells you what you need to know about your responsibilities.
Many commercial and domestic premises owners and occupiers wanting to protect their properties install an intruder alarm system, or take over an existing one on acquiring the premises. Owners or occupiers whose premises have an intruder alarm system installed have a responsibility to ensure it does not become a source of annoyance to their neighbours or the general public. The alarm system should be properly designed, installed and maintained as far as is reasonably practicable to prevent false alarms. Guidance is given in British Standard BS 4737 of 1987, as amended by BS 7150 of 1989. If your premises has an alarm it is recommended that you register keyholder details with the council on 0344 980 3333.
To avoid disturbance to the public, all intruder alarm systems must be fitted with an automatic cut-out device. This should disconnect both the internal and external sounder units, either bell or siren, after a period of not more than 20 minutes following activation. Such a cut out device can be supplemented with a flashing light, which will continue to operate after the sounder has ceased. This will help alert the public and police that the alarm has been activated.
Owners are strongly advised to submit keyholder information to the council. Should owners of intruder alarm systems fail to do so and a complaint of a misfiring alarm is received, the council may disconnect the alarm. We may then charge the owner or occupier for any costs incurred.
Annoyance caused by the operation of audible vehicle alarms also gives rise to noise complaints. Owners who seek to protect their vehicle by installing a system of this type or who purchase a vehicle with an existing system fitted must also be aware of their legal responsibilities.
It is a requirement under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 to fit a five-minute cut out device to all vehicle alarms. It may also be an actionable statutory nuisance under section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (as amended), for the registered keeper to allow an alarm to sound frequently or for a prolonged period, so as to cause a nuisance to people living in the area.
Where an authorised officer of the council witnesses the prolonged or frequent sounding of an alarm from an unattended vehicle, they may serve an abatement notice on the vehicle and ‘person responsible’. This requires them to silence the alarm and take action to prevent a recurrence of the nuisance. If after one hour, the person has not silenced the alarm, the council may de-activate it or remove the vehicle from the location. Full costs of this action will be recovered from the person responsible or the registered keeper of the vehicle.
It is therefore important that you set your alarm to a reasonable level of sensitivity to minimise 'false alarms', and to maintain your alarm system in good working order.
If you are affected by the prolonged or frequent sounding of an audible intruder or car alarm please contact the council on 0344 980 3333 or complete the enquiry form on our contact us page
Other noise control information
Information on other noise related issues can be found by clicking on the link below.