Friday, 28 March 2014

Plan to scale-back Noise Nuisance Team

North Ayrshire Council’s SNP Cabinet will this week consider a proposal to scale-back the Out of Hours Service that deals with complaints of noise nuisance.

In 2005 the local authority joined with councils in East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire to deliver a county-wide Out of Hours Noise Team. In a 12-month period officers dealt with over 1,000 complaints of noise nuisance in North Ayrshire alone.

However, initial Scottish Government direct-funding for the initiative ended in 2009, with the three councils then required to meet the cost from overall mainstream funds. As a result, the service was reduced in 2012 from four nights a week to just Saturday and Sunday nights. Between April 2013 and February 2014 the Team recorded 306 complaints in North Ayrshire (6 or 7 each weekend).

The current review of operations has been prompted by the decision of South Ayrshire Council to withdraw from the all-Ayrshire service as of April 1st. This left North Ayrshire Council with the options of attempting to run a joint service with East Ayrshire or to go it alone.

In a report to be considered by Cabinet members, Mr Craig Hatton, Corporate Director (Development & Environment), proposes a reduced service for North Ayrshire acting on its own. Mr Hatton’s recommendation to councillors calls for “A North Ayrshire stand-alone service responding where there is a history of nuisance on known days and times”. However, if implemented, the revised service will react only to “repeat complaints from the public”. There will be “no immediate call out service to the first complaint made by members of the public”.

The Corporate Director suggests “The public will register their complaint with Environmental Health and they will be given advice on how Environmental Health can help with their problem. Arrangements will be made to measure the noise levels and agree further action.”

By reducing the service to the public, Mr Hatton estimates the Council can save in the region of £15,000. According to the senior official, “The move to a North Ayrshire only service will have the benefit of being supported by only local Officers and the move to targeted interventions will mean complaints being dealt with more efficiently.”

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