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Alarms

If you protect your property (commercial or domestic) by installing or taking over an alarm system you have a responsibility to make sure it does not become a noise nuisance.

The alarm system should be properly designed, installed and maintained as far as is reasonable practicable to prevent false alarms.

Installation

To avoid disturbing the public, all alarms should be fitted with an automatic cut-out device. This will disconnect both the internal and external sounders, either bell or buzzer, after a period of not more than 20 minutes following activation. Such a cut out device can be supplemented with a flashing light that will continue to operate after the sounder has stopped to alert the public and police to the alarmed state of the property.

All owners of newly adopted or installed alarm systems must:

  • Inform the local police station in writing of the names, addresses and contact telephone numbers of at least two 'nominated key holders' who can be called upon to de-activate the alarm in the absence of the owner; and 
    Notify the Environmental Health Department of the installation of the system and the name of the police station holding the key holder information. Copies of the notification forms are available on request. 
  • Excessive noise from alarms may amount to a "statutory noise nuisance". In such cases, the Council will serve an "Abatement Notice". Contraventions of such a Notice are an offence. The Council may also carry out "works in default" to silence an alarm. If this happens, the owner will be liable for the costs involved (at least £150).

Vehicle Alarms

It is a requirement under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 to fit a 5 minute cut-out device to all vehicle alarms. It is also an actionable statutory nuisance under section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisances Act 1993, for the 'registered keeper' to allow an alarm to sound frequently or for a prolonged period, so as to cause a nuisance to local residents and people working in the vicinity.

Where an authorised Officer of the Council witnesses the prolonged or frequent ringing of an alarm from an unattended vehicle, the Officer may serve a noise abatement notice, requiring the person responsible to de-activate the alarm and carry out works to prevent a recurrence of the nuisance.

If, after an hour, the person has not come forward, the Council may de-activate the alarm or remove the vehicle. Full costs of this action will be recovered from the 'person responsible' or the 'registered keeper' of the vehicle. This may be in excess of £200.

  1. Vehicle alarms must be fitted with a 5-minute cutout device. 
  2. Set your alarm to a reasonable level of sensitivity to minimise 'false alarms'. 
  3. Maintain your alarm system in good working order.

Alarms fitted to your home/business or vehicle should not become a source of nuisance to your neighbours. You have a legal responsibility to ensure that any alarm activated should ring for:

  • a maximum 20 minutes - home/business; and
  • your vehicle alarm should have a 5 minute cut-out device fitted.

Don't go away on holiday without notifying your neighbour or a contact who lives locally.

Ice cream van chimes should not sound before 12 noon and after 7pm or longer than four seconds, see the code of practice for more information.

 

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