On Christmas Eve 2014 the government signalled a significant change in the way statutory nuisance is assessed. It confirmed that the existing ‘character of the locality’ should be taken into account when establishing if a noise is causing a nuisance or not. This seems to be a direct response to the ‘Norman Tebbutt’ campaign that was widespread through traditional print and social media.
In essence, the guidance seeks to protect long-established noise sources (eg industrial premises, music venues or pubs etc) against complaints from residents new to the area. In the past, local authorities have had little help in resisting such complaints and this has resulted in many long-established venues having to change their operations or even close permanently.