One of the forgotten heroes of English legal history was a man called John Connell OBE.  You are unlikely to have ever heard of him.  More than 50 years ago he formed what sounds like one of the quaintest English organisations to have ever come into being – the Noise Abatement Society.  This wonderful manifestation, created no doubt by huge collective irritation, still exists today.  One of its great achievement was to have nuisance recognised as a statutory tort – in other words creating a law under which,  in some cases, you can sue when you ears have been bombarded by an excess of decibels.
  • As I get older and grumpier I am becoming increasingly frustrated at the way that we are constantly deluged with a din in situations where it is totally unnecessary and avoidable.  To me a noisy pub is as bad as a smoke-filled one – why do I have to endure a selection of rowdy musak when trying to enjoy a pint of bitter?  I am not alone in gravitating towards music-free watering holes and noisy pubs are not the only places at which those present have their lug-holes tortured.  Last Saturday I attended a youth sailing event in the Docklands area of London in which my son was competing.  The sun was shining, spirits were high and there was a great atmosphere save for one thing – a DJ who was to determined to blast everyone present with 12 hours of loud music.  It was wholly unnecessary.  I regarded it as nothing less than pollution.
  • What can you do about noise?  On a microcosmic level you can do a lot when your neighbour starts up his lawnmower at 7am on a Sunday morning – complain directly, involve the environmental officer at your local counsel or in extreme cases – sue.  Also, on a minor level, you can at least educate your children about the perils of listening to an excess of ipod intake day and night – I wonder what state their hearing will be in in 30 years time?  Much harder are the problems that besiege us all – traffic, low flying aircraft, developers building a block of flats near-by and so on.  What you can do is to lobby  your MP, involve your local authority in cases where you and others have a group gripe and last but not least you can make a donation to the Noise Abatement Society – see www.noiseabatementsociety.com for details.  Go for it.